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14th Annual Food Sovereignty Prize honors Western Organization of Resource Councils, Food Sovereignty Ghana

Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG)
Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG)

With recent spikes in food, fuel, and fertilizer prices raising alarms of intensifying hunger globally, food and farm advocates are calling for lasting solutions to a food system in crisis.

“This is the third food price crisis in fifteen years, pointing to an urgent need for system-wide change. This year’s Food Sovereignty Prize winners are paving the way toward a food system that’s democratically controlled and grounded in ecological principles,” said Alivia Moore of Eastern Woodlands Rematriation, a member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) and last year’s recipient of the Prize.

The 2022 Food Sovereignty Prize, sponsored by the USFSA, is going to the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) and Food Sovereignty Ghana.

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.” According to Darnella Winston of the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, also of the USFSA, “Food and farm advocates initiated the Food Sovereignty Prize fourteen years ago to challenge the Green Revolution model espoused by the World Food Prize. Today, there is mounting evidence of the failures of this model.”

Organizers of the Food Sovereignty Prize say that Food Sovereignty Ghana exemplifies vital alternatives to the Green Revolution being pushed on the African continent by the Bill and Melinda Gates-funded Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA) and others. Last month, AGRA announced that it would be dropping “Green Revolution” from its name, in response to increased backlash over its failure to deliver positive outcomes for African farmers. Rather than reducing hunger, AGRA and related initiatives have fostered dependency on the multinational corporations backing the initiative.

According to Anne Maina of the Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, who served on the 2022 Food Sovereignty Prize selection committee, “The Green Revolution model has made local agriculture dependent on imports, diverting the hard-to-find dollar that would have addressed a myriad of other needs.”

By contrast, Food Sovereignty Ghana promotes alternatives grounded in agroecology, ancestral knowledge, and community autonomy. A major focus of the group’s efforts has been on seeds, including legal challenges against genetically modified crops and the criminalization of farmers for seed-saving practices.

According to Edwin Baffour of Food Sovereignty Ghana, “this international award comes at a moment of reflection for us on the past decade and the contributions we have made to encourage and inspire responsible policy making which will benefit human health, animal life, and the environment.”

Policies that put the rights of corporations over those of farmers and communities are also being challenged within the US. According to Kathryn Bedell, Chair of WORC’s Agriculture and Food Campaign team and a rancher from western Colorado, “Ranchers like myself cannot exist without healthy soil, clean water, natural grasslands, and fair markets. Today, a small handful of international corporations dominates the food supply, controls our markets, and has undue influence on food policy. Organizations like WORC help us form a broader movement to fight for the policies we need for economic and environmental sustainability.”

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