Regional UN Consultation Offers Opportunity for US Government to Address Rural Concerns, Corporate Concentration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2019
Washington, DC – The National Family Farm Coalition and other members of North America’s Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) will participate in the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security’s (CFS) North American regional consultation on the Voluntary Guidelines for Food Systems and Nutrition this week. Rural communities in the US are disproportionally affected by food insecurity, poverty, and public health crises, and civil society organizations are demanding the US government to support international guidelines and human right standards, such as the Right to Food. Iowa farmer Patti Naylor will represent NFFC and the North American CSM at the consultation as a member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and La Via Campesina. The event is hosted by USDA at the University of Maryland in College Park.
Naylor represented NFFC at the UN’s Committee on World Food Security last month in Rome when she delivered a statement and letter to US Ambassador Kip Tom. Signed by nearly 50 family farmer, social justice, and rural advocacy organizations, the letter denounced the US delegation for repeatedly obstructing the implementation of agroecology to address the issues of food insecurity, rural livelihoods, and climate change.
NFFC continues to raise concerns that the US government fails to follow standard procedures for UN participation, thereby denying opportunities for under-represented stakeholders – including independent family farmers and ranchers and civil society organizations – to share their perspectives. “This is so hypocritical,” offered Naylor, “since USDA’s mission is to ‘… provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.'”
Jim Goodman, NFFC board president, said, “NFFC is pleased to have this opportunity to participate in the FAO regional consultation, because if you don’t have a seat at the table you’re probably on the menu, and independent family farmers in the US, especially those who use agroecological farming methods, have been on the menu for too long. The climate and financial crises farmers now face suggest that it’s time the US government practice sound public policy and do everything possible to promote agroecology as the best hope to address corporate concentration, protect the earth, provide for rural communities, and achieve food sovereignty.”
Effective guidelines on nutrition and food systems must consider a holistic perspective of rural communities and their socio-economic health. Naylor hopes to present NFFC’s comments to the consultation covering core challenges facing US family farmers and rural communities as well as reasons for government support of agroecological farming practices. Comments may be read at https://nffc.net/nffc-comments-to-cfs-voluntary-guidelines-on-food-systems-and-nutrition/.
Contact: Lisa Griffith, NFFC outreach coordinator, 773-319-5838, firstname.lastname@example.org