2000 Annual Report

Food First | 01.01.2001

Winter 2001, Vol. 24, No. 81

Letter from the Co-Directors

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. – Frederick Douglas (1817-1895), Abolitionist, Publisher and Former Slave

As Food First celebrates its 25th anniversary year, we are proud that we are wielding power for social and economic justice with ever greater success. With your support, Food First has worked with communities from around the globe to strengthen democratic values and challenge injustice. Last year we had the privilege to work with many diverse groups and celebrate new power. We stood with Black family farmers who have refused to give in to racial discrimination by the USDA. We challenged the corporate myths of feeding the world through genetic engineering. We marched together with farmers from Southeast and South Asia as the Peoples’ Caravan traveled from India to Bangladesh and the Philippines. We spoke out at the United Nations and other global forums from Dresden to New York to Brussels, demanding the human right to feed oneself. We joined hands with many others to block the World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington, DC and Prague. We are no longer searching for a space to be heard—we have created new spaces. We are no longer pleading for the right to speak—we are speaking. We are no longer walking the beaten path—we can see that the forests and the fields are our heritage. This knowledge strengthens our daily struggle.

Human rights are not only the rights of the privileged and the powerful. Food First will continue to work in the new millennium for the universal rights to food, housing, living wage jobs,land, medical care, and an adequate standard of living for all. We are committed to ensuring that the voices of those who do not share power are heard. We are committed to making the world see human rights violations through the eyes of the victims of so-called ‘development’ and technological fixes—through the eyes of indigenous peoples, the disabled, the landless, the dispossessed, the women and children—knowing that from the peripheries of power, the world is seen differently. Through the eyes of the South in the South; and of the South in the North. The work we present in this progress report is about effecting real change, both in the hearts and minds of individuals and in government policies. We hope the stories touch you and that you will join us in our commitment to the good fight for social justice and grassroots democracy. This struggle is an ongoing one and we look forward to new allies and working with old friends.