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Small farmers unite!

UK co-ordination of the international farming organization La Via Campesina to be launched.

On March 3rd 2013 the inaugural annual general meeting of the international farming organization La Via Campesina UK will be held at Ruskin Mill Farm, Gloucestershire, marking the launch of the organisation’s first UK-wide co-ordination. La Via Campesina was founded in 1993 to represent the rights of small-scale traditional food producers around the world. Today the organisation represents more than 400 million farmers, growers, pastoralists and fishermen and campaigns for their rights to be recognised by national and international policies.

Via Campesina UK is a coalition of producers meaning that membership is open to anyone who is actively involved in farming, fishing or fibre enterprises. The co-ordination will bring together like-minded producers to identify and organise targeted campaigns and lobby UK and European parliaments on issues affecting the livelihoods of small-scale producers. The organisation will also provide a network for producers to share farming skills and knowledge through on-farm training, tours and working groups.

Central to Via Campesina’s identity is the campaign for Food Sovereignty launched in 1996 and defined as – “The right of communities to define their own food and farming systems”. In practice food sovereignty describes the way farm shops, farmers’ markets and local box-schemes already connect producers and consumers across the UK today. While many farmers are associated with existing unions in the UK, Via Campesina is unique in offering a direct link to the activities and experiences of like-minded producers across Europe, and the rest of the world.

The AGM to be held in March is open to anyone who identifies with the principles of food sovereignty and would like to find out more about the proposed work of Via Campesina UK. The AGM is an all-day event starting at 9am, it is free to attend but booking is essential. Please contact membership secretary Jyoti Fernandes to book a place: viacampesinauk@aktivix.org

For more information visit: http://www.viacampesina.org.uk

Press Contact:Ed Hamer 07858 381539, edhamer@riseup.net

For more information on the international work of Via Campesina: viacampesina.org/en/

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