Community gardens are GROWing across Canada. More and more Canadians, from students to seniors, are participating in community gardens as they look for ways to improve their diets and lower their food costs.
Memorial University’s community garden felt to be a most appropriate place to draw attention to the scandal of land grabs happening throughout the developing world. The Memorial University garden has approximately 35 plots and each year a lottery is held to see who, of the 85 or more applicants, will be successful in accessing a small plot. The garden could readily double in size, if land was made available.
It is clear that access to land is the primary ingredient for people to feed themselves. It is absolutely shocking to think every second, poor countries lose an area of land the size of a soccer field to banks and private investors. The result is many small-scale farmers, women and men, along with their families are being forcibly evicted from their farmland, without proper compensation.
It is equally shocking that the majority of land acquisitions take place in poor countries that have their own serious hunger problems. Worse still, 60 per cent of those land investments in the past decade have been to grow crops to produce biofuels for engines rather than food for local people.
Across the country Oxfam is calling on Canadians to help STOP LAND GRABS. In a world where 1 in 8 people go to bed hungry each night we need to better support and assist women and men small-scale farmers. Oxfam is calling on Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to help us persuade the World Bank to initiate a six month freeze in land investments. We need to establish transparent rules that include free, prior and informed consent for the small-scale farmers and their communities. Our goal is make sure that big land deals do not undermine local and national food security, especially in the world’s poorest countries.
If we are to succeed we will need your help. You can take action by visiting www.oxfam.ca/grow/act
– Bill Hynd is Oxfam Canada’s Atlantic Outreach Officer