Niaz Dorry moved to Glauster, Massachusetts, the oldest settled fishing port in the United States, in 1994, and she has been working with small-scale, traditional, and indigenous fishing communities in the U.S. and around the globe ever since. After a working as an environmental justice organizer in Greanpeace’s toxics campaigns, she started working on fisheries issues. She’s been organizing with the fishing families of the North Atlantic Marie Alliance since 2008, advancing the rights and ecological benefits of the small-scale fishing communities as a means of protecting global marine biodiversity. This year, NAMA and the National Family Farm Coalition decided to join forces and share leadership, with Niaz as their director. She is currently on a national tour of farms and fishing communities to kick of this joint effort. I spoke with Niaz just before she left on tour.
Janaki Jagannath is the former Coordinator at the Community Alliance for Agroecology, a coalition of community-based organizations in the San Joaquin Valley of California that work to advance agricultural and environmental policy towards justice for communities bearing the burden of California’s food system. Prior to this, she worked at California Rural Legal Assistance in Fresno, enforcing labor standards and environmental justice protections such as access to clean drinking water for farmworker communities. Janaki has assisted in curriculum development for the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems degree at UC Davis and has farmed diversified and orchard crops across the state, including conducting training at the Refugee Entrepreneurial Agriculture Project in San Diego County. Janaki holds a B.S. in Agricultural Development from UC Davis and a producers’ certification in Ecological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology. She is currently pursuing her J.D. at King Hall. In this episode, Janaki talks to Devon about organizing in the San Joaquin Valley, building movements in the legacy of the United Farm Workers, and an ecological approach to environmental justice.
M. Jahi Chappell is a political agroecologist with training in ecology and evolutionary biology, science and technology studies, and chemical engineering. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University, and a Fellow of Food First.
Jahi has recently published a book called Beginning to End Hunger: Food and the Environment in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Beyond. It is rooted in his field research in Belo Horizonte over more than a decade, and presents a far-reaching analysis of how to end hunger, what is keeping us as a society from doing it, and how we might overcome the many obstacles in our way. Devon spoke to Jahi in the cafeteria of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, during a vibrant symposium on agroecology. We talk about the experience of Belo Horizonte’s massive investment in food security, the expansion of those ideas to Brazil’s Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) programs, and the need to build trust between groups and find common agendas so that we as a movement are ready when political windows open for radical change.
Photo courtesy of Cecilia Rocha.
Elizabeth Mpofu is the General Coordinator of La Via Campesina, a global coalition of more than 164 farmer organizations from 73 countries. She is also a small-scale farmer in Zimbabwe, the leader of the Zimbabwe Smallholder Farmers’ Forum, and an advisor to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. In this episode, she describes her unexpected path to leadership in the food sovereignty movement, the fight to be respected as peasants around the world, and the struggle for representation of the people most affected by development decisions. We spoke at the Thousand Currents offices in Berkeley last year.
Photo: DFID (CC 2.0)