2007 Annual Report
Highlights of Food First’s 2007 activities and plans for 2008
Food First’s work falls under three program areas aimed at integrating food sovereignty across both rural and urban and spanning local, national and international arenas. Programs include assisting with the building of local agri-foods systems, accompanying farmers forging food sovereignty, and supporting groups struggling to democratize development including land, resources and markets.
Local agri-foods systems
In 2007 Food First staff and interns focused local work in two areas. The first included organizing and research aimed at helping local food justice organizations, particularly in Oakland. We supported the formation of the Oakland Food Policy Council and worked with an Oakland citizen’s group to hire a director for the HOPE Collaborative, a two-year Kellogg-funded project aimed at improving food and fitness in underserved communities. The second local agrifoods systems project is based in several Mexican villages where campesinos are creating markets for sustainably-grown produce. This project has the potential to allow small farm producers in Mexico to stay on their land, rather than being forced to migrate to the U.S. for work. In 2007, Food First also initiated trainings in indigenous areas of northeastern Mexico on the role of pollinators in food production. This was funded by the C.S. Fund.
Agrofuels, a major focus of Food First’s work in 2007, garnered the bulk of media attention and involved a diligent crew of interns and fellows delving into all aspects of the rapidly evolving and alarming developments around the market manipulation of grain prices as both the EU and the U.S. established renewable fuel standards. These energy standards shifted approximately one third of U.S. corn to agrofuels. Low grain reserves, coupled with grain speculation, caused prices to climb out of reach of many of the worlds’ poor. As early as January 2007, tortilla riots were reported in Mexico www.foodfirst.org/ node/1649. With basic food grain prices climbing dramatically worldwide, many more people are going to bed hungry in countries of the global south.