Voices from the field

Voice from the field 1

Illustrations and comics to promote food sovereignty and peasants’ rights

The Amrita Bhoomi book of Illustration on Natural farming explores the experiences of rural farmers in their ecological practices of soil restoration whilst also highlighting the horror of industrial farming. Working with peasants and children at Amrita Bhoomi we collated stories and inputs, using the local white bird and the ever-giving earth worm to weave these stories.” say Chilli and Yeme who worked on this book (only in Kannada language).  “Using local symbols and folklore, we created a story to teach children the importance of the agroecology and natural farming as an alternative. School Children in our area now uses this book and develop short projects around it.” adds Chukki Nanjudaswamy from Amrita Bhoomi.

Meanwhile, Confédération Paysanne in France has developed an illustrated novel on corporate capture of the seed system. Damien Houdebine, National Secretary in charge of plant and vegetable production, talks about The History of seeds: Resistances to the privatization of living things : “The debates on seeds and GMOs are highly publicized but there is an abundance of incorrect information in circulation! We wanted to create accessible educational materials aimed, in particular, at young people. We think we’ve met that challenge with this comic! Its publication has been a real success. It is on the table at every peasant festival and accompanies us on all our actions for food sovereignty!”

Carlos Julio, an artist and activist with the MNCI Somos Tierra (Movimiento Nacional Campesino Indígena) in Argentina who illustrated the sketches of Peasant and Rural Women with Rights explains: “The best praise I usually receive as a cartoonist is when comrades from the Peasant Movement tell me “I felt reflected in that drawing”, “it expresses our struggles”, “it expresses our life”…”. Another praise that moves me is when they tell me “it made me laugh a lot”. I also know that when we make materials for reflection and debate, the drawings help to question reality, and to get a message across, beyond words. I really liked doing the drawings for Peasant and Rural Women with Rights. Showing peasant life, making people smile, making them think and discuss. That’s no mean feat”.

Voices from the field 2

Voz Campesina, the role of community radios in promoting food sovereignty

Azul Cordo, Real World Radio

Ten years ago, Real World Radio and The Latin American Coordinator of Rural Organizations (CLOC-Vía Campesina) created “Voz Campesina”. It is a radio programme that covers the main issues of the peasant movement, its struggles, challenges and achievements, and guarantees coverage of events organised by CLOC and its allies.

Voz Campesina has its own agenda and, at the same time, brings a peasant and popular, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-colonial and feminist perspective on other issues that affect everyone. For example, in the last year, it provided analysis on the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding that it is the consequence of the neoliberal systemic crisis that we have been going through for years, with an emphasis on the solutions that the peasantry already has in place, such as agroecology and food sovereignty.

Each programme seeks to guarantee the representation of men, women, young people and adults from CLOC and from the South and Central American and Caribbean regions. In its content, peasant experiences for access to land are relevant, along with analysis and denunciations from the regions. Broadening the dissemination is a challenge. The programme is available on the RMR and CLOC websites and can also be played on podcast platforms.

Voices from the field 3

Peasant newspapers, an example from South Korea

Jeungsik Shim, editor in chief of KPL News, South Korea

The KPL News is a newspaper that is run and distributed by the Korean Peasant League. Since its foundation in 1990, KPL realized the need of its own media. KPL continued to struggle for peasant issues, but the existing media was not paying attention, or they distorted the struggles. Finally in 2006, KPL took over a weekly newspaper specializing in agriculture and issued the first edition on September 25th as reorganized KPL News (Han-kuk-nong-jung in Korean).

It is a weekly newspaper specializing in agriculture, covering news on farmers and rural areas. Newspapers are published every Monday and are published four times a month and 48 times a year, and are delivered to over 30,000 peasants across the country. It also has a web version http://www.ikpnews.net/ which is updated frequently so that readers who do not receive paper newspapers can read them anywhere in the country.

Voices from the field 4

Arpillería, an art form for telling and not forgetting

Blanca Nubia Anaya Díaz, member of the Movimiento Social en defensa de Ríos Sogamoso y Chucurí, Colombia

The Movimiento Social en defensa de Ríos Sogamoso y Chucurí is a movement that was born to oppose the Hidrosogamoso dam, and is also part of the Ríos Vivos Colombia movement. Arpillería is an art form that allows us to tell what we have lived through in a different language. In our eagerness to make the problem visible and bring the message to others, we took threads, needles, scraps of cloth and began to stitch everyday scenes onto jute.

We make these memories so that those who see them will not allow megaprojects to cause this damage in their lands. We capture what we have lived through, which is why in the scenes there are dead fish and few people. We use rustic materials and support the work with collage. We want to show people what we have lost.

The idea is to continue with arpillería because it is a very beautiful technique. Between threads and needles, we chat, talk, tell stories. When we started making these environmental memoirs, we discovered that our dead were not free, that our displaced people were not the bad ones, that all this had a background that little by little we discovered and we captured in the jutes.

We are going to continue working because we want to create a memory so that this is not repeated – a memory of peace. We fight for peace and our weapons are a needle and thread.