The Food Sovereignty Prize from New York Debrief


On October 15th, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance hosted the 5th annual Food Sovereignty Prize at Cooper Union in New York City. Representatives of the honorees and USFSA opened the ceremony with a Mystica, wearing flags that  represented the honorees as well as other liberation fighters. The Mystica participants carried bowls of seeds, water, soil, and aspirations through the audience to join Mother Earth center stage. Chants and a song of struggle and liberation were shared with the audience before moving into the formal ceremony.

This year, the USFSA honored four organizations: the Group of 4, Dessalines Brigade; the Basque Country Farmers Union; the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations; and the Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective.

Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA Georgia State Director for Rural Development, shared wisdom from her lifelong work and recent struggles in her moving keynote speech. She discussed the importance of Section 2501 in the Farm Bill and the structural impediments to ending hunger in the world.

The Master of Ceremonies this year was Blain Snipstal, returning generation farmer, member of Rural Coalition, and Via Campesina-North America Youth Coordinator. Throughout the ceremony, he asked “Who is going to feed the future? How? And on what terms?” Often in their speeches, the honorees offered lessons and hopes from their organizations in response.

Watch the live streamed and recorded ceremony here.

An intern at WhyHunger compiled some of the best tweets of the night here. Rachel ran the tweets for USFSA, Diana from Food Chain Workers ran their tweets, and Liz from WhyHunger ran theirs. Other tweets came in from individuals and organizations all over the US. See the complete conversation by reading the hashtag #FoodSovPrize on Twitter.

Read Lisa’s debrief from Des Moines in our upcoming Newsletter!