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Food Politics And Peasant Movements

The workshop entitled “Food Politics and Peasant Movements” featuring keynote Speaker Dr. Philip McMichael was held Friday October 29, in Toye Lounge. The workshop was successful beyond expectations with about 50 participants including community members, undergraduate and graduate students from a number of disciplines, as well as faculty from several departments. The workshop was a full day event beginning at 10am with a talk by McMichael and Q & A. Following lunch, catered by local food activist Vimala, Alice Brooke Wilson and Marie Josée Massicotte served as panelists starting off a full afternoon of discussion around a number of questions including:  what can we learn from the knowledge and practices of small farmers and peasant movements, north and south? How are they interacting with and resisting the dominant model of agro-industrial, export-oriented monocultures promoted by most states and interstate institutions such as the WTO? What kinds of alternatives are they proposing (transnational networks promoting food sovereignty, agro-ecology, local markets, cooperatives…) and are there more opportunities now for alternative practices? What are the potentials and limits faced by grassroots movements promoting social and environmental justice based on an agriculture that is diversified, locally grounded, culturally sensitive, and ecologically sound? Is there still some relevance for agrarian reform in this time of biotechnology and increased ‘land-grabbing’ attempts to secure access to fertile land in various countries?


Taking Root: The Vision Of Wangari Maathai

November 9, 2010 saw the screening of the award winning documentary “Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai” at the FedEx Global Center. The film focuses on the work of the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots environment and human rights movement foundered by Dr. Wangari Maathai the 2004 Nobel Laureate. The keynote speaker at this event was Kamoji Wachiira, former Professor in the Geography Department of Kenyatta University, political prisoner in Kenya, board member for the Green Belt Movement, and an advisor on global environmental issues to the Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai in 2004-2005. A multi-disciplinary panel addressing issues pertaining to environmental, human rights and peace-building grassroots movements in contemporary Africa, Latin America and Asia followed the screening of the film.  The panel featured Kamoji Wachiira and UNC Professors Bereket Selassie, Arturo Escobar, Mark Driscoll and Eunice Sahle.

The event was sponsored by the Department of African and Afro-American StudiesAfrican Studies CenterCenter for Global InitiativesOffice of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, and Curriculum in Global Studies. Participants at this event included students from various classes including INTS560, faculty and members of the public from the Triangle region especially from East Africa.