Newsletter #1 October 2015

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South African food sovereignty campaign
What is this newsletter all about?

Comrades, we are excited to introduce to you our very own SAFSC newsletter. The purpose of this newsletter is to:

  1. keep you up to date with what is going on in the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign and developments in the South African food system, both on the ground and in the ground,
  2. introduce you to the actors in the campaign,
  3. inform you about upcoming events,
  4. broaden your knowledge by drawing your attention to international food sovereignty news, good reads, agroecology tips and activist tools,
  5. occasionally give you advice on where you can find more information on the SAFSC (HINT: by looking at our new website).
Click here to view the website
Importantly, this newsletter serves as a platform for you to share your news with the greater SAFSC community. Should you want an item to feature in this newsletter, please send requests and we will be happy to include your news, events or stories. In this first edition we explain what you can expect from each section of the newsletter.
Enjoy reading!
Be inspired to save seeds and save lives
This section of the newsletter serves to inform you about what activists in the SAFSC are doing to bring justice to their local food systems, and to inspire you to make a difference in your own way.
Diary entry #1: October 2015
As she methodically saves indigenous seeds, she also takes time to share her knowledge with others in her community of King William’s town. In the process, Aviwe Biko is indeed saving lives. She urges us to remember that one seed can feed millions in this country.
Read Aviwe’s story here
Diarise this event
SAFSC food sovereignty festival and assembly is taking place on world food day,
Date: 16/17 October
Venue: Johannesburg
View the Flyer here
For more information, or to share your events with us,
National news image

The first edition of national news serves to inform you about the highlights of the campaign since our first assembly in February this year. Browse through this section to catch up on news you might have missed, see how the SAFSC has evolved, and learn more about the food sovereignty alternative in South Africa.
SAFSC assembly
28 February – 1 March 2015
Over 50 organisations from across South Africa were represented at the SAFSC assembly in Joburg, including small-scale farmers, the landless, community based organisations, the unemployed, and waste piciers. Comrades gathered  officially launch the SAFSC.
Read more about the assembly here
Download the declaration here
People’s tribunal
7-9 May 2015
The tribunal on hunger, food prices & landlessness brought together the hungry, the landless, farmers and experts. Each testified about the various injustices they had witnessed. Pickets were also held at media houses and the JSE. On the third day the verdict was given.
Read the verdict here
Download the entire report here
SAFSC Assembly
Picketing outside Times Media
Activist school #1

22-25 June 2015
With a focus on food sovereignty and agroecology, the first activist school of the year equipped participants with a guide and knowledge to return to their communities and promote food sovereignty and agroecology.
Read more about the school here
Download the activist guide on food sovereignty here

Activist school #2

27-30 July 2015
The second activist school was attended by 40 activists who gathered to share and learn about worker cooperatives. Activists were amazed by the potential that cooperatives can have to transform their communities.
Read more about it here and see the resources section of this newsletter for the worker co-op guide
News articles

31 Aug ’15: PUTTING FOOD BACK ON THE TABLE. In this article, Kamcilla Pillay draws from the tribunal report and interviews food experts (some are comrades from the SAFSC) to establish what can be done to make sure that people have enough to eat. See the full article here
11 Aug ‘15: SOUTH AFRICA’S FOOD CHAIN, A NOOSE AROUND WOMEN’S NECKS. Representatives from the SAFSC were present at a Women’s day round table discussion on the gendered impact of the food system hosted by the Human Rights Commission. An article documenting this event, and the voices of these women is available here

6 March ‘15: MORE PEOPLE IN SOUTH AFRICA FACING FOOD SHORTAGES. In this interview with Press TV, Athish Kirun from COPAC is interviewed. He highlights the need for a food sovereignty strategy from below because current solutions to hunger are not working. Watch the interview here
11 June ’15:  ARE THERE ALTERNATIVES TO GMOs. In this radio interview on SAFM, Zakiyya Ismail, from ACB and a fellow SAFSC comrade, discusses the harmful effects of GMOs. Listen to this radio interview here


To keep you abreast with what is happening in the food sovereignty scene internationally, we include some interesting research articles, stories and images from afar. In this edition of international news, we bring to your attention Ecuador’s struggle for food sovereignty and land reform. We also amplify the call from Via Campesina to moilise in the run up to COP 21, and we showcase some insipring food sovereignty organisations who are winners of the 2015 international food sovereignty prize. Click on the links to read the articles.
Struggle for land reforms in Ecuador
20 August 2015
In Ecuador, social movements play a small but key role in advancing food sovereignty, particularly as they fight to advance the approval of the land law, a policy reform that would radically transform land tenure and property rights.

Read the full report here.

Food sovereignty: A true solution to the climate crisis
20 August 2015
Melting glaciers, eroding soils, disappearing  species and a food system imposed on us by TNCs are putting the lives of ordinary people, many communities in great jeopardy. This article reveals that peasant agriculture can feed the world and cool the earth.
Read more here.
ARIPO sells out
African farmers
8 July 2015
With the adoption of the Arusha protocol for the protection of new varieties of plants “multinational seed companies will be able to lay claim to seed varieties as their private possession to prevent others from using these varieties without the payments of royalties.”
Read the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA’s) response here.
International food sovereignty prize winners announced
1 September 2015

Unlike the World food prize (sponsored by multinationals and won by executives of sponsors, such as Monsanto and Syngenta in the past), the International Food Sovereignty prize is awarded to organisations that have been at the forefront of fighting for food sovereignty.
Read the inspiring stories of the two winners here and here.

For gaining greater knowledge

This first edition of resources, tips and tools brings to your attention the need for a food sovereignty alternative. This section also offers tools on how to bring about this alternative in simple and grand ways, from planting a tree to starting a cooperative. The aim of this section is to offer resources that will equip you not only to share your food sovereignty knowledge with others, but also to put that knowledge into practice.

Good reads
Starving for answers?
In this report Olivier de Schutter, former UN special rapporteur on the right to food, with six years experience observing the top down state approach to alleviating hunger, explains why food sovereignty is the better alternative. This is an excellent read for those new to food sovereignty.
Read it here.
Activist tools
Activist guides
Friends at COPAC recently released an activist guide on worker cooperatives. This guide was used at the activist school, where one comrade said the following about it: “I see this book as being the best. Anyone who will go through it will make a successful co-op.”
Download this excellent resource here.
Download the activist guide on food sovereignty here
Agroecology tips and tricks
Arbour month
September was arbour month, if you have not managed to plant anything yet, don’t worry, the earth still accepts plants in October. We encourage you to plant indigenous trees, plants or food crops in your back yard. Alternatively you could just cultivate those stubborn blackjacks. Yes, apparently they are edible. read more about South African indigenous crops by downloading this document here. Read more about eating blackjacks here.
Your resources, tips and tools
Read a good book or article lately? Created some useful activist tools? Or do you perhaps have better advice to share with the rest of the SAFSC community (which you probably do because any advice is better than advising one to cultivate blackjacks?). Send us these articles, recommended books or agroecology tips and tricks by emailing,and we will include them in the newsletter.
South African Food Sovereignty Campaign
Phone: 011 447 1013
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