The U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) recently awarded the 2023 Food Sovereignty Prize to the Black Dirt Farm Collective and Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP). Each year, the Prize recognizes two grassroots organizations dedicated to advancing food sovereignty and justice.
“In these turbulent times, both organizations are beacons of hope and inspiration,” Christina Schiavoni, Senior Communications Coordinator for Grassroots International, a member of the USFSA tells Food Tank. “Through approaches grounded in food sovereignty, agroecology, Black liberation, and grassroots feminisms, both are catalyzing much-needed transformation in food systems – and broader systems – entrenched in exploitation and oppression.”
The Black Dirt Farm Collective is a group of Black and Brown farmers, educators, scientists, and land stewards in Brandywine, Maryland, dedicated to regenerating and nourishing the land while building equitable food systems. The Collective focuses on sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices, land-based healing, and promoting food justice. They advocate for land access and ownership for Black and Brown individuals and communities and work to create spaces for marginalized voices in the agricultural and food justice movements.
MPP, also known as the Peasant Movement of Papaye, is a social and agricultural movement that advocates for the rights and interests of peasant farmers and rural communities in Haiti. The movement focuses significantly on land reform, food security, and sustainable agriculture from the grassroots level.
“It is notable that news of the Food Sovereignty Prize winners came within days of the United Nations announcing plans to send armed forces into Haiti,” Schiavoni tells Food Tank. She argues that the move will only exacerbate existing crises the country is facing.
“In contrast,” Schiavoni continues, “MPP is confronting crisis in the here and now while building vibrant local food economies that foster both sustainable rural livelihoods and ecological resilience. This points to real solutions by and for Haitians that the international community must stand behind.”
The Food Sovereignty Prize is designed to serve as an alternative to the annual World Food Prize, which the USFSA argues has been co-opted by the interests of global agribusiness.
“The Food Sovereignty Prize champions grassroots, agroecological solutions from the people most harmed by the injustices of the global food system,” states Heather Day, Executive Director of Community Alliance for Global Justice, a USFSA coordinating member, in a press release. “Mouvman Peyizan Papay and Black Dirt Farm Collective demonstrate community-led farming systems that work toward Black and Indigenous liberation while nourishing humanity and the Earth.”
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Photo courtesy of Ricardo IV Tamayo, Unsplash.