2nd International Youth Camp of
La Vía Campesina North America
SAVING SEEDS FARM
SEDGWICK, MAINE, USA
AUGUST 10 – 16, 2011
Youth of La Via Campesina, along with allies in North America, are pleased to announce that the 2nd North America Region Youth Camp will be held August 10–16 in Sedgwick, Maine, USA. This will be the first La Via Campesina Youth Camp to be held in the USA and participation of dynamic youth leaders is requested.
Young farmers, farmworkers, fishers, and peasants from Mexico, the United States and Canada will converge on the Maine Coast for 6 days to work together, learn from each other, form bonds, identify common challenges, and pose collective solutions within an international framework. We will learn how the peasant movement can translate more effectively to U.S. and Canadian young farmers, fishers, and farmworkers. We will encourage conversations and solidarity among young American farmers of all latitudes, empowering young farmers, farmworkers, fishers, and peasants from across the region to work together towards Food Sovereignty.
In the past few decades, North America has seen drastic changes occur in the food system. Globalization and the movement towards industrial based food production and consumption have taken their toll on our rural communities and the farming population. In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement instigated fierce competition between farmers in Mexico, the United States and Canada and has devastated small farms and peasant agriculture across the continent. Today, in Canada and the United States, less than 2% of the population is farming. According to Canada’s Agriculture Census, between 1991 and 2006, there was a 62% drop in the number of farmers under the age of 35. Rural youth in Mexico are being pushed out of their communities and into the migration stream. In the border regions and further north, young migrants are met by a system of exploitation in the fields of industrial agriculture.
As North America loses its farmers, speculation on farmland and land prices are increasing, as is the volatility of the global food system that is failing the most vulnerable around the world. The global young farmer-farmworker movement is rapidly emerging as one of the most important political and social topics of our time. La Via Campesina has become an international leader in this movement by creating a global network of young peasants and farmers who are working together to offer Food Sovereignty as an alternative to the current industrial food system. La Via Campesina recognizes that an agricultural revival is necessary and must integrate social, political, economic and environmental solutions to bring the youth back to the countryside.
In North America, particularly in the United States and Canada, member organizations of La Via Campesina are few and their resources scarce. It is therefore critical at this time to reach out to alliance organizations in order to continue to build this essential movement. Many NGO’s and youth organizations are already working towards Food Sovereignty on a local, regional, and national level. The invitation to join the La Via Campesina North American Youth Camp will be an excellent opportunity to form strategic partnerships between the youth in allied organizations and youth in La Via Campesina.
PARTICIPANTS AND REGISTRATION
We invite your group to send 2-4 delegates to participate in the camp, and gender equity is required. The organizational team is currently seeking funding to cover the expenses of the international travel, visas, and interpretation equipment. Due to the usual budget constraints we must ask the organizations to finance their own youth delegates’ plane tickets to the U.S.. Contact the organizational team to discuss local fundraising strategies and possible travel scholarships.
All expenses during the camp will be covered by the host organizations.
Criteria for participating in the camp:
-Active membership in sponsor organization.
-Knowing the history of your organization to contribute to discussions.
-Be available to study, work and share experiences.
Pre-Registration and Costs
Organizations need to select their Youth representatives as soon as possible and send the following information: organization, complete name of participant and what role he or she has in your group. Deadline for pre-registration is June 1, 2011.
Recommendations (what to bring)
a) Materials for personal use:
Canteen, cup, saucer, spoon, tent, sleeping bag, lamp, boots, cap or hat, working clothes, personal hygiene items. If you have any medical treatment, bring your medicine.
b) Materials of your organization:
Flags, shirts, hats or other symbols of your organization, and presentation materials of the organization he/she belongs to (photos, documents, books, brochures).
c) Materials for exchanges and mystica:
Native seeds, symbols that give identity to its people, poems, songs, musical instruments.
d) Conditions in the camp:
Temperatures during this time of year are likely to be between 70–85ºF, with evening temperatures between 55-60ºF. Be prepared in case of rain. There are likely to be mosquitoes and other insects.
Please specify any special health or dietary needs prior to arrival at the camp.
Arrival of participants in Sedgwick, Maine is expected on Wednesday, August 10. Participants traveling internationally are asked to fly to Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, August 9 where local organizers will provide meals and lodging for the night. Buses will depart from Boston Wednesday morning for arrival in Sedgwick around noontime. Total travel time from Boston to Sedgwick is expected to be 5 hours.
Buses will leave Sedgwick for Boston beginning Tuesday, August 16 around noon for late flights. Local organizers in Boston will again provide meals and lodging for participants who will depart from Logan International Airport the following day, Wednesday, August 17.
CONFIRMATION OF PARTICIPATION AND GENERAL INFORMATION:
To confirm your group’s participation contact:
Jessie Dowling – Food for Maine’s Future/National Family Farm Coalition, USA
PO Box 284 Brooks ME 04921
For general information contact:
Kalissa Regier (English/Spanish) – National Farmers Union, Canada
La Via Campesina North America Youth Commission Representative
Bob St. Peter (English only) – Food for Maine’s Future/National Family Farm Coalition, USA
Farm manager, Saving Seeds Farm
Jessica Roe (English/Spanish) – La Via Campesina, North American Region
La Via Campesina North America Technical Staff
We look forward to your participation in the 2nd La Via Campesina North America Region Youth Camp and together growing the future of our movement.
Globalize the struggle!
2011 LVC NAR Youth Camp Organizing Team
To Register for the camp please download a mail us a Registration form