Sat, 5/12: Free Trade vs. Safe, Just, and Sustainable Food – Brooklyn Food Conference Panel

An information-packed session on the threats of free trade agreements and how we can fight to globalize food justice, not corporate control of our food. Learn how “free” trade hurts farmers, forces migration, exploits labor, jeopardizes food safety, supports factory farming, and otherwise undermines the goals of the food movement.

A Panel at the Brooklyn Food Conference Organized by TradeJustice New York Metro and OWS Trade Justice

Saturday, May 12th, 2012
11:00am until 12:15pm

Brooklyn Technical High School, Room 5W12
29 Fort Greene Place Brooklyn, New York 11217
Admission is free; preregister here.

Kathy Ozer, Executive Director, National Family Farm Coalition

Leticia Alanis, Executive Director, La Union

Daira Quiñones, President, Mutual Association Afro-Colombian for Integrated Development and Entrepreneurship (AMDAE)

John Kinsman, President, Family Farm Defenders

Session Objectives:

Participants will leave this workshop with an understanding of what free trade agreements are and how they:

  • hurt family farms
  • destroy rural economies and force migration, creating an exploitable migrant workforce for US agribusiness
  • compromise the safety of imported food
  • ban consumer information labeling on our food
  • undermine bans on genetically modified food
  • encourage the global spread of factory farms, at the expense of the environment, animal welfare, and public health
  • help corporations offshore food production to escape regulatory standards
  • globalize unhealthy diets, heavy in animal products and processed foods
  • encourage the violent displacement of indigenous and Afro-descendant communities by cattle grazing and plantation agribusiness interests
  • privatize water
  • allow corporations and governments to attack bans on toxic agricultural pesticides, beef from cattle injected with hormones, and other threats to food safety in international tribunals composed of unelected trade lawyers

Through this workshop, participants will:

  • learn what free trade agreements are and how they impact many different areas of concern to the food movement.
  • understand both how they personally are impacted by free trade agreements in their everyday lives and how communities around the world are impacted.
  • be introduced to a variety of different organizations working to fight unfair trade deals and to support alternatives at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

Participants will leave the workshop both informed and empowered to act.

About the Presenters:

Kathy Ozer, Executive Director,
National Family Farm Coalition
Kathy Ozer is the executive director of the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), which represents family farm and rural groups whose members face the challenge of the deepening economic recession in rural communities. NFFC unites and strengthens the voices and actions of its diverse grassroots members to demand viable livelihoods for family farmers, fishers, and workers, safe and healthy food for everyone, and economically and environmentally sound rural communities.

Leticia Alanis, Executive Director,
La Union
Leticia Alanis is the executive director of La Union, an organization of people of the global south working to advance the social, economic, and cultural rights of the communities where they now live and the communities they left behind. The 600 members of La Unión are predominantly from the Mixteca region of Mexico and immigrants from across Latin America. La Unión is based in the neighborhood of Sunset Park, Brooklyn; one of New York City’s largest Mexican immigrant neighborhoods.

Daira Quiñones, President
Mutual Association Afro-Colombian for Integrated Development and Entrepreneurship
Daria Quiñones is a singer, dancer, poet, and activist from Bogota, Colombia. She is among 4.9 million Colombians displaced by violence, and she currently works to empower other displaced people in Bogota.

John Kinsman, President
Family Farm Defenders
John Kinsman is an organic dairy farmer and forester from Lime Ridge, Wisconsin.  He raises 36 cows on a 150-acre farm – 80 acres of which are devoted to rotational grazing and hay production, while another 70 acres is devoted to woodland.  John Kinsman is president of Family Farm Defenders (FFD), a group he helped found in 1994 to promote sustainable agriculture, fair trade, workers rights, animal welfare, consumer safety, environmental stewardship and – above all –  food sovereignty.   He is also the secretary of the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC). Through FFD, John also works to relocalize food/farm economies and forge new economic relationships between consumers and farmers.  One example of this is the Family Farmer Fair Trade Project that enables FFD to direct market cheese from Cedar Grove in Plain WI, giving farmers a fair price while providing a healthier rBGH free alternative to consumers.  John remains one of the leading U.S. critics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and is also an outspoken critic of corporate globalization.  As one of the farmer leaders involved in Via Campesina, the largest umbrella organization for farmers, fishers, foresters, hunters, gatherers, and indigenous peoples in the world – he has also traveled extensively around the world to share the message of food sovereignty.