The UK government and the corporations trying to take control of Africa’s food
Thursday 1 May, 7pm – City of Edinburgh Methodist Church
25 Nicholson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX
Speakers: Janet Maro and Liz Murray
This is a free event but please register here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-new-scramble-for-africa-tickets-11002748517
WDM Scotland organise a great annual gathering for activists and campaigners. This year’s is in Stirling, very easy to get to from Edinburgh so there should be a strong showing from the E+L group.
Brief details below and a link to the event page for booking information. Oh yes, and it’s free but please book!
Saturday 7 September, Stirling
Get stuck in to the detail of WDM’s food campaign, meet others campaigning locally in Scotland and share your ideas and enthusiasm for campaigning for global justice.
When: Saturday 7 September, 12 – 4.45 (registration and coffee from 11.30)
Where: Stirling Methodist Church, Queen St, Stirling FK8 1HL
Creating a pop-up community garden in Edinburgh to protest the corporate takeover of the world food system
On Saturday 8 June, the Edinburgh and Lothians WDM group had a really fun day creating a pop-up community garden in central Edinburgh to demonstrate that food is a right for everyone not a commodity to make profit from. We had recruited lots of people to come along and bring their plants, tools, compost, seeds and banners, which made a very eye-catching display and brought lots of people over to have a look! We noticed quite a few tourists taking photos of what we were doing! So it was easy to chat to people and give them a leaflet to explain what we were doing and why, although a few people just thought we were selling plants, so maybe our banners should have been bigger… We had a corner of the community garden for ‘plant your own vegetable for free’, with a selection of seeds. This brought a few children, and we chatted to their parents while we were helping the children plant their seeds.
We took action to show that Scotland was in solidarity with other actions around the UK, and with African farmers, in rejecting the New Alliance, which was being discussed at David Cameron’s Hunger Summit in London. Cameron was meeting with massive corporations including Monsanto, Cargil, Vodafone and Unilever, to pledge £395 million to “stop” world hunger. However, the New Alliance is going to spread land grabbing and GM across the Africa, where civil society has not been consulted but demand putting power in the hands of small producers not large corporations. In Edinburgh, and at actions across the UK, we wanted the public and politicians to be aware of the African farmers’ views, and also see the New Alliance as Cameron feeding big business, rather than solving world hunger.
The Hunger Summit was set up to give Cameron his ‘make poverty history’ moment while signing away African people’s rights and wrecking their livelihoods. Our banners on Saturday called for real solutions to the food system set out in food sovereignty. As 70% of the world’s food is produced by small-scale farmers, these are the people who UK aid money should go to, to support food production, not large-scale agricultural corporations. African countries joining the New Alliance must implement policies which will exacerbate hunger, such as making it easier for foreign investors to acquire land. A statement from African civil society rejects the New Alliance as part of a “new wave of colonialism” targeting their food systems for corporate profit. When we explained this to members of the public they seemed to understand why we were protesting and were surprised about what UK aid money was going towards.
One of our protesters, Anna Mayfield, was quoted on the front page of the Morning Star newspaper: “We are standing in support of African civil society to tell the G8 leaders to stop privatising agriculture and destroying the livelihoods of small-scale farmers. We are also opposing the takeover of the food system by multinationals and unaccountable G8 leaders. Whatever decision is taken by the G8 will affect adversely African farmers and consequently everyone else in the global food system.”
If you’re interested in finding out more on food sovereignty, WDM is having an event on 5 July in Edinburgh called Food security or food sovereignty: What direction for Europe? which will debate the principles of food sovereignty and food security, and examine some of the policies that the EU, UK and Scotland need in order to tackle the root causes of hunger. Deborah Doane, director of WDM and Pete Ritchie, director of Nourish Scotland will be on the panel. You can find out more here.
We had such a fun time creating a pop-up garden in the middle of Edinburgh where no-one would expect it! It made it a much more interesting and appealing protest, and really engaged the public. Watch this space for more unexpected, fun pop-up events around Edinburgh soon!
The next meeting of the group will be on Monday 11th March from 7pm to 9pm.
There will be a talk from Johnanna Carrie and Pat Abel on “Edinburgh Transition Towns, Sustainability and Climate Justice.” All are welcome!
Watch the video below to find out more about Transition and please share the event with friends!
Last month WDM Edinburgh and Lothian members celebrated our Christmas dinner. In January?! Yup, everyone is so busy in the lead up to Christmas that we have our January meeting in a restaurant, and following last year’s form this was the tasty Cafe India!
This is a quick blog before out first proper meeting of 2013 on 11th February, as normal at 7pm in Quaker Meeting House. No talks planned this week but following the food theme we are planning for our Farmers’ Market stall later in the month, looking at how we can support WDM campaigns in 2013 and having a discussion on the new IF campaign by a broad coalition of UK aid agencies.
The inside story on international climate negotiations! What happens at global meetings on climate and sustainability? Do they produce results? What role do NGOs play? What’s it like to be there?
Marcus Gustafsson (Y-Climate Action, YMCA-YWCA of Sweden, World Alliance of YMCAs) will be speaking at our December meeting (10th Dec). Marcus was an accredited delegate at the recent Rio+20 summit and Doha Climate Change Conference. He will be at WDM’s next meeting to discuss our questions on these global meetings.
Marcus’ bio is here: http://scenetwork.co.uk/research-assistants
(P.S. if this sounds familiar this event was planned for October but had to be cancelled at the last minute.)
Monday 10th December 2012
Quaker Meeting House, Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2JL – directions
Marcus’ talk and discussion 8-9pm
(come at 7pm to be part of the normal WDM campaign planning)
Free, everyone welcome, no need to book
Join us for a Scottish skills and networking day for campaigners. WDM Edinburgh will be holding a stall at the farmers’ market in the morning from 10:30 and then joining others from Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Jubilee Scotland, Oxfam Scotland and SCIAF. All welcome, its free and you can book at the link below.
Making a movement: a skills share and networking day for local campaign groups in Scotland
When: Saturday 27 October: 12pm – 5pm
Where: Augustine United Church, Edinburgh
Details at: www.wdm.org.uk/events/skillshare-and-networking-day
Marcus Gustafsson (Y-Climate Action, YMCA-YWCA of Sweden, World Alliance of YMCAs) will be speaking at our October meeting (8th Oct), everyone is welcome to come!
Marcus was an accredited delegate at the Rio+20 summit and so can give us the inside track on what went on and some insight into what the summit outcomes mean. Hopefully it will inform our future campaigning and pressure on UK govt. Marcus’ bio is here: http://scenetwork.co.uk/research-assistants (Info reposted from last month)
In other news, two members of the group travelled to Inverkeithing to meet with Catherine Stihler MEP, a substitute member of the European committee voting this week on food speculation. She is supportive of WDM and tweeted about the meeting here. Fingers’ crossed for this important vote we’ve been campaigning on for over a year.
Finally few shoutouts about interesting Edinburgh events you can get involved with:
- Take One Action Film festival 21 Sept to 6 October
- Edinburgh World Justice Festival 6 – 17 October
- Stop Climate Chaos Scotland are planning a mass lobby of the Scottish Parliament on Oct 25
- Fairtrade Foundation in the Big Fair Bake, between 24 Sept and 4 Oct