Interview with Miriam Nobre*, agronomist and feminist activist with the World March of Women in Brazil, for Nyéléni Newsletter

Miriam Nobre. Photo: Meritxell Rigol

What challenges do the rise of neofascism and conservatism in Latin America pose to Food Sovereignty?

The attempts by conservative sectors to return to the patriarchal family model are added to the dismantling of public policies that promote young people staying in the countryside, and the alliance between agribusiness, drug trafficking and militarization as constant threats to communities.

Developing Food Sovereignty requires spaces where people can grow food and develop traditional knowledge. We cannot allow indigenous and Afro-descendant people, who have an extremely important role in defending territories, to be constantly under attack.

Added to that is the destruction of traditional processes, such as the rituals involved in planting or harvesting corn, which are a way of organizing thought through observation of nature.

The transfer of knowledge between generations is often done through rituals, and here in Brazil, some neopentecostal religions confront these indigenous rituals.

They also persecute elderly women or women who live alone, accusing them of being “witches” or “sorceresses”, physically attacking them, putting the community against them and expelling them from their lands, denying their right to manage the land.

How can Food Sovereignty be a way to resist the rise of fascism?

Food Sovereignty is a form of resistance because it implies the possibility of organizing life in a different way, from the most basic things of questioning how and what we eat, supporting small farmers, sharing domestic chores so that they are not solely the responsibility of women. That is why we must fight for the right of young generations to be farmers and for them to be able to practice agroecology.

*Miriam Nobre is an agronomist and feminist activist with the World March of Women in Brazil. Also as part of the feminist organization SOF (Sempreviva Organização Feminista), for the past few years she has carried out popular education, research and technical advice activities on Feminist and Solidarity Economy, Agroecology, and Food Sovereignty, together with peasant and Afro-descendant quilombola women from Vale do Ribeira, Sao Paulo. From 2006 to 2013, she was the coordinator of the International Secretariat of the World March of Women and member of the Nyéléni Forum for Food Sovereignty.

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