Food Sovereignty Movement in Poland

WHO ARE WE at Nyeleni Polska?

Our initiative was founded in 2016 in Cluj during the Nyeleni Europe Forum. We collaborate since then internationally with Nyeleni Europe, La Via Campesina, European Coordination Via Campesina, Schola Campesina and regional farmers’ unions, farmers and civil society organisations, such as food cooperatives and environmental NGOs.

OUR MISSION AND GOALS

Our mission at Nyeleni Polska is to engage rural and urban citizens in common work for the right to life-giving food based on Earth care and social justice.

Over 50% of Europe’s small-scale and peasant farms are located in three countries: Poland, Romania and Italy. Worldwide, 70% of food consumed by people is produced by small-scale and family farms, with only 30% of resources used by global agricultural production. Yet the number of small agroecological farms is declining rapidly, calling for substantial rethinking of our food system as we also need to adapt to climate change.

We are working to reverse this trend and regenerate traditional, localised low-input farming practices and wide access to healthy, sustainably-produced and adequately priced food, empower farming communities economically and strengthen the emergence of the new generation of agroecological farms. We support and develop new pathways for learning sustainable food production and the transmission of the experiential, practical knowledge and skills of farming for future generations.

We are using the frameworks of Food Sovereignty and Agroecology as defined by social movements and farmers’ organizations around the globe not to maintain the status quo: we are using them as a vision for social transformation and social change necessary for our times.

“Agroecology is a way of life. It is seeing the social, not only the productive function of the Earth. It is not only a production of small scale – it is seeing nature as a living being, not a commodity”

Salete Carolo, Brazil

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Nyéléni Europe

Nyéléni Europe is the widest international movement aiming to realize food sovereignty in Europe. It aims to build common strategies in order to re-organise the way we structure our society around food and agriculture today.

The name Nyéléni comes from a legendary Malian peasant woman who farmed, and through her farming fed her people – she embodied food sovereignty through hard work, innovation and caring. Nyéléni was the inspiration for the name of the first Forum for Food Sovereignty in Sélingué, Mali in 2007.

Food sovereignty is a policy framework advocated by a farmers’, peasants’, pastoralists’, fisherfolk, Indigenous Peoples’, women’s, rural youth and environmental organisations. It was launched in 1996 by the international peasants’ movement La Via Campesina during the FAO World Food Summit in Rome. Since then food sovereignty has played an increasingly important role in the debate on agriculture and alternatives to neoliberal policies. The food sovereignty movement is continuously growing in the Pan-European region.

Before the introduction of the food sovereignty policy framework, food security was limited to searching for ways to guarantee sufficient food through trade or food aid, at national or international levels. Food sovereignty puts agricultural producers and consumers at the core of the debate, and supports all peoples in their right to produce their own food, independent of international market conditions, and to consume local foods.

Faced with the failure of neoliberal policies and the deteriorating living conditions in both rural and urban communities, a growing number of political decision makers and social movements are taking an interest in food sovereignty. A group composed of Friends of the Earth International, La Via Campesina, the World March of Women, ROPPA, WFF and WFFP organised Nyéléni 2007, the World Forum for Food Sovereignty.

Nyeleni Polska – building the movement for Food Sovereignty in Eastern Europe.

Dear friends in Nyeleni Europe Network, ECVC and other Partner Organisations working for Food Sovereignty,

We are Nyeleni Polska – a group of activists from organizations from across Poland working together towards food sovereignty in our region. We are raising funds to build up our website, organize meetings for urban and rural organizations, spread information about events, facilitate cooperation between different communities and strengthen operations of our initiative – Nyeleni Polska. Help us spread the cause of food sovereignty in Eastern Europe and reclaim our right to healthy and culturally appropriate food!

Here is the link to our fundraising page and to a subtitled video explaining our action – we will be grateful if you can share it out on FB and within your networks: https://zrzutka.pl/en/za3eg4#

(Automatic translation of the page HERE.)

We also would like to connect and share with you an update about some of our work and invite you to share back with us news about your activities and campaigns.

 

Our story

Our initiative was founded in 2016 in Cluj during the Nyeleni Europe Forum. Since then it has been an intensive time for us of forging our strategy and actions and we have seen a very strong resonance among civil society initiatives and among farmer communities, as we introduced the concept of food sovereignty for the first time on Polish ground. There is clear potential for food sovereignty in the country and our dream is to build a strong movement on a regional level and to further the links and partnerships in Eastern Europe with the view to host a European Nyeleni Forum in Poland.

Our activities

First of all, at the beginning of 2018 we hosted the 1st Polish Forum for Food Sovereignty (in cooperation with the Institute for Global Responsibility – IGO Poland). The 4-day event took place in Warsaw and gathered over 120 farmers, activists and members of organisations working close to the issues of food sovereignty, agroecological farming and food systems change in Poland. The event was successful in gathering interest and awareness of food sovereignty in activist and farmer circles.

We have also developed several projects and lines of cooperation in Poland and internationally throughout the past year. Some of the activities were:

  • Supporting the Polish Organic Farmers’ Association EKOLAND (link) in developing a relationship with ECVC and linking Polish farmers with other Farmers Organizations from ECVC (LWA, ÖBV, Ecoruralis)
  • Hosting an Inter-generational Farmers’ Gathering for Food Sovereignty (link), for circa 50 Polish farmers-activists on 1–3 December 2017 (in cooperation with iGO)
  • Supporting a nationwide campaign for enabling direct sales of on-farm produced and processed foods and opposing supermarket expansion through the Campaign “I don’t buy in supermarkets”  ttp://niekupujewsupermarkecie.wordpress.com
  • Introducing the Food Sovereignty movement and concept to the public debate in Poland, at various events: European Slow Food Festival in Krakow, ‘Good Harvest’ Seminars for Organic Farmers, Women’s Congress in Poland, Polish Gathering of Alternative Communities, European Bioeconomy Congress, and many others.
  • Running a series of educational Webinars (November 2017–January 2018, link) on Food Sovereignty, Global Food Justice, Agroecology, CAP, degrowth, and related topics for existing and new members (in cooperation with IGO).
  • Networking and recruiting Nyeleni members and creating a visible platform online.
  • Creating resources in Polish, e.g. educational leaflets about Food Sovereignty, La Via Campesina, Declaration of Peasant Rights, translation of reports, short educational films with topical interviews on Food Sovereignty.
  • One of our members took part in the Schola Campesina, the Peasant Agroecology and Global Governance training in October 2017 in Italy as well as in the VIIth International La Via Campesina Conference in Bilbao, Basque Country in July 2017 (short film available here)
  • Taking part in cross-European agroecological knowledge exchange projects, like CSA exchanges and the BOND project
  • Supporting and linking farmers in advocacy and lobbying activities in order for the Parliament to allow direct sales of preserved products from small-scale farms and put a ban on GMO.
  • Introducing the Declaration of Peasant Rights campaign in Poland and beginning lobbying activities with governmental representatives.
  • Agro-Edu-Lab: a pilot training in public formal farming schools for next generation young farmers aimed at demonstrating to students economic viability of agroecological farms operating primarily on local markets

Our plans

So far, our working model has been based mostly on the contribution of a collective of volunteer coordinators, who were the delegates from Poland during the European Nyeleni Forum in 2016 in Cluj, Romania. On several occasions we were able to write our projects into project grants in collaboration with IGO Poland but most of the time the members of our collective juggle between paid jobs and volunteer activist work.

To meet the growing amount of work and expectations we want to expand our core coordinators collective to continue advancing Food Sovereignty in the public debate. We are in need of more consistent coordinating roles that will strengthen administrative and networking processes. We want to develop our website, organize meetings for urban and rural organizations, spread information about events and facilitate cooperation between different communities.

We launched a crowdfunding campaign (https://zrzutka.pl/za3eg4# ) and are searching for financial support in the form of grants and direct funding to empower our outreach capacity and improve our efficiency in connecting with the growing group of members. We want to build our own financing capacity and strategy over time. We are interested to secure funding for a 2-3 year period of strategic development of the organizational structures and Nyeleni processes in Poland.

Also if you know any funding organisations or grant-givers who would be keen on supporting the development of a young organization in Eastern Europe, please let us know or kindly forward this plea.

Help us in expanding the Nyeleni movement and connecting Polish small farmers with international political processes and La Via Campesina to bring Food Sovereignty to many new fields and tables!

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

With solidarity,
Nyeleni Poland Coordinating Team

 

Contact:
nyelenipl@gmail.com
fb/nyelenipl
www.nyeleni.pl

 

Contact us directly by email, phone or arrange a skype meeting:
Joanna Bojczewska   T: 0048 695 459 857 E: bojczewska@gmail.com
Wojtek Mejor   T: 0048 606 673 047 E: wojtekmejor@gmail.com[:]