Join us in honoring the Black Dirt Farm Collective and Mouvman Peyizan Papay, recipients of the 15th annual Food Sovereignty Prize! The Prize is awarded annually by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, of which NFFC is a participating member.
The Food Sovereignty Prize was first awarded in 2009 as an alternative to the World Food Prize founded by “the father of the Green Revolution,” the late Norman Borlaug. While the World Food Prize emphasizes increased production through technology, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions solutions coming from those most impacted by the injustices of the global food system. In honoring those who are taking back their food systems, the Food Sovereignty Prize affirms that nothing short of the true democratization of our food system will enable us to end hunger once and for all.
See the full press release below, published by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance.
WASHINGTON, DC, October 10, 2023 — In advance of the annual celebration of World Food Day by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance has awarded the annual Food Sovereignty Prize to two outstanding organizations, the Black Dirt Farm Collective, located in Maryland, and Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP), based in Haiti. This award is particularly meaningful for MPP at this time, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary amid ongoing political strife, economic depression, and violence in Haiti, prompting an announcement by the UN Security Council to send armed forces into the country.
Recognized internationally, the Food Sovereignty Prize serves as a counterweight to the World Food Prize initiated by Norman Borlaug, the controversial “father of the Green Revolution.” “The World Food Prize typically focuses on expanding production of single crops through expensive, large-scale technology,” said Heather Day, executive director of Community Alliance for Global Justice, a USFSA coordinating member and 2009 recipient of a Food Sovereignty Prize Honorable Mention. “In contrast, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions grassroots, agroecological solutions from the people most harmed by the injustices of the global food system. 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.”
The Black Dirt Farm Collective is a collective of farmers, educators and organizers that arose from the need to support and protect Black agrarian knowledge in the US mid-Atlantic region. The Collective fights for a just transition using “Afroecology” – the connection between Black agrarianism and agroecology – to build systemic solutions to global food and farm crises. Racial discrimination led to the systematic removal of US Black farmers from the land. Between 1910 and 1997, Black farmers lost roughly 90% of the farmland they collectively owned, and the US Department of Agriculture now reports that fewer than 1% of US farmers are Black. The Black Dirt Farm Collective is committed to reclaiming Black agrarian history, lost generational wealth, and returning to the land.
Shakara Tyler, a returning-generation farmer, educator and organizer and Collective co-founder, summarized one of its essential tenets: “If we are not feeding ourselves our culture, who will?”
Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP, or Papaye Peasant Movement) was established in 1973, aligned with the international peasant movement La Via Campesina from the 1990s onward, and has grown to represent more than 60,000 members. The movement empowers rural agricultural workers and focuses on food sovereignty to reclaim Haiti’s independence from global food imports. The Prize committee recognizes MPP’s work combating the ongoing environmental, humanitarian, and hunger crisis in Haiti, worsened by entrenched legacies of colonization, land grabbing, climate change, and foreign exploitation at the expense of local food systems. MPP works directly with local farmers to bolster local food economies through agroecology and build environmental resiliency through planting tens of millions of trees. This inspiring grassroots strategy rejects Haiti’s continued reliance on sporadic international aid in favor of local community control.
“When we received word of this honor during our Food Sovereignty Camp, 450 young peasant leaders let out a thunderous cry of joy,” said MPP leader Jusléne Tyresias. “Through MPP’s 50-year history, Haiti’s peasants have persisted, not only confronting multiple crises head-on, but planting seeds – literally and figuratively – for our people to live with dignity, safety, and sovereignty.”
The Black Dirt Farm Collective and Mouvman Peyizan Papay will be recognized at a virtual ceremony, date and time to be announced soon. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Further information will be made available at www.usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org and www.facebook.com/USFoodSovAlliance.
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) is comprised of food justice, anti-hunger, labor, environmental, faith-based and food producer groups that work to connect our local and national struggles to the international movement for food sovereignty. The Alliance strives to end poverty, rebuild local food economies and assert democratic control over the food system, believing that all people have the right to healthy, culturally appropriate food produced in an ecologically sound manner.