International Food Justice Summit to be Held on Maui
Five experts in global food justice, environment, human rights, GMOs and pesticide issues from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and Hawai’i will participate at Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action and Pesticide Action Network North America’s “Challenging Global Impacts of the Agrochemical Industry: 2016 Food Justice Summit.”
The summit, which is free and open to the public, will take place Jan. 15 through 20 on Maui, Hawai’i Island, Kaua’i and O’ahu.
On Maui, the summit is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. in Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s McCoy Studio Theater. Kainoa Horcajo, Hawaiian cultural ambassador at Grand Wailea and host of the television show, Search Hawai`i: Where Food Meets Culture, will serve as the event’s host.
The four-island speaking tour will include five experts (see “SPEAKERS” below) who will articulate the shared experiences from around the world of struggles to preserve rights of local farmers against corporate land grabs, for workers rights, protections from pesticides and food sovereignty issues.
The summit will also include a “Convergence on the Capitol” to support the efforts of community groups leading the charge for rights to land, water and food with rallies and other events on the Legislature’s opening day (Jan. 19–20).
The genesis for the summit came from the experience of the Kaua’i delegation that traveled in April to Switzerland, home of pesticide giant Syngenta.
Mariann Bassey Orovwuje is program manager of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, the foremost Nigerian advocacy non-governmental organization. ERA is the Nigerian chapter of Friends of the Earth International, a network of 76 national grassroots groups, campaigning to protect the environment and to create sustainable societies. She is the coordinator of Friends of the Earth Africa’s Food Sovereignty Campaign. Orovwjue is a lawyer and an environmental, human and food rights advocate. Her talk is entitled “Lessons in Food Sovereignty from Africa: Access to Land; Rights Over Seeds.”
Sarojeni V. Rengam is the executive director of Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific in Malaysia. She is a steering committee member of the Asian Rural Women’s Coalition, a coalition of grassroots organizations of rural women, women peasants and agricultural workers, including Indigenous women, pastoralists and fisherfolk, and regional networks working on women’s issues. She will present “Land Grabs and The Struggle for Farmers’ and Farm Workers’ Rights in Asia.”
Adelita San Vicente Tello is the director of Semillas de Vida Fundacion (Seeds of Life Foundation) in Mexico. She is one of the leaders of the Sin Maiz no hay Pais (Without Corn there is no Country) coalition that successfully kept Monsanto transgenic corn out of Mexico. Her talk is entitled “Stories from the Birthplace of Corn: How Mexico has successfully kept Monsanto out (and protected local farmers and biodiversity)!”
Eva Schürmann is an activist with MultiWatch, a Swiss-based group that monitors multinational corporations headquartered in Switzerland (such as Syngenta) and their violations of human rights around the globe. She has a master’s in law degree from the University of Basel and is a practicing attorney. Schürmann and Multiwatch helped organize the Kaua‘i delegation last April that attended an international conference in Basel, addressed the Syngenta shareholder meeting, and met with the parliament of Basel. Her talk is entitled “Activism in the Belly of the Beast: Switzerland and The Precautionary Principle in Europe.”
The speaker from Hawai‘i was not announced as of the publishing deadline.
Speaking Tour Schedule
Friday, Jan. 15, 6–8 p.m.: Hilo, Hawai‘i Island, University Classroom Building 100, University of Hawai‘i-Hilo
Sunday, Jan. 17, 5–7 p.m.: Līhue, Kaua‘i, Performing Arts Center at Kaua’i Community College
Monday, Jan. 18, 6–8 p.m.: Honolulu, O’ahu, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
At the Maui event, the first 20 people to sign in will receive free HAPA T-shirts.
For more information and summit updates, additional background information about the speakers, and speaking tour dates, venues and times, go online or call (808) 212-9616, ext. 0 .
The Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action is a state-wide organization. Its mission is to catalyze community empowerment and systemic change towards valuing ʻāina (environment or “that which feeds us”) and people ahead of corporate profit. HAPA campaigns for fair and sustainable food systems, economic justice, community-based resource stewardship and reclaiming democracy.
Pesticide Action Network North America works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. One of five PAN Regional Centers worldwide, PAN North America challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society. PAN International—founded in Malaysia in 1982—links local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network.