In mid October, the Food Sovereignty Prize was awarded to two organizations recognized for their commitment to food sovereignty or, “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.”
The domestic awardee was Black Mesa Water Coalition, and the international award went to Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico.
Both groups were celebrated at the tenth annual Food Sovereignty Prize ceremony, taking place on Lummi and Nooksack land in Coast Salish Territory, in the city now called Bellingham, Washington. The ceremony took place adjacent to the the IV National Membership Assembly of The U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA), a four-day long gathering comprised of plenaries, workshops and public rallies in support of working to end poverty, rebuilding local food economies and asserting democratic control over the food system. Pesticide Action Network is a founding member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance.
Real solutions to food and climate crises
Black Mesa Water Coalition was recognized for restoring Indigenous food sovereignty and uplifting youth leaders among Navajo and Hopi communities. The coalition utilizes green economic development and other diverse strategies, rooted in Indigenous knowledge, to address issues of poverty, hunger and environmental injustices driven by extractive industries and centuries of colonialism.
Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico was recognized particularly for mobilizing Food Sovereignty Brigades to assist farmers recovering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The group organizes farmers to transition to sustainable agriculture and sovereignty in Puerto Rico.
Food sovereignty for health, resilience, and justice
The Food Sovereignty Prize is presented as an alternative to the World Food Prize, which is supposed to honor “the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world,” but has long had corporate leanings, in 2013 going as far as bestowing the award on Monsanto (now merged with Bayer) and Syngenta.
PAN and partners see right through the World Food Prize and the motivations behind it, and fully recognize the awardees of The Food Sovereignty Prize as the true champions of health, resilience and justice in our food and farming systems.
These grassroots organizations demonstrate how frontline communities most affected by social and ecological crises are the ones with solutions to society’s most pressing problems.” -Doria Robinson, Urban Tilth (coordinator of the West Region of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance)