La Via Campesina (LVC) is a global movement that brings together organizations representing small- and medium-scale farmers, peasants, agricultural workers, rural women, and indigenous communities. It is pluralistic, democratic, multi-cultural, and non-partisan.
Via Campesina and its members focus on issues such as food sovereignty and trade; agrarian reform (re-distribution of access to, and control over, resources such as land, seeds, water, credit); appropriate technology, sustainable agriculture and agroecology; strengthening women’s participation in social, economic, political, and cultural matters; peasants’ and farmers’ rights; biodiversity; migrant farm workers; and the promotion of economic relations of equality and social justice.
Via Campesina is organized into nine regions: Europe, Northeast and Southeast Asia, South Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Central America, Africa 1, Africa 2 and South America.
The origin of LVC goes back to April 1992, when several peasant leaders from around the world met in Managua, Nicaragua, at the Congress of the National Union of Farmers and Ranchers (UNAG). Since then, LVC Conferences have been held every four years: in Mons, Belgium (1993), Tlaxcala, Mexico (1996), Bangalore, India (2000), Sao Paolo, Brazil (2004), Maputo, Mozambique (2008) and Jakarta, Indonesia (2013).
Canada’s National Farmers Union is a founding member of the Via Campesina. The NFU continues to take an active role in the LVC, with representatives currently serving as the Womens Regional Coodinator alternate, and as Regional Representatives on the Biodiversity and Women Commissions. NFU former Presidents Wayne Easter and Nettie Wiebe played key roles in the founding and development of La Via Campesina.
Check out a 20-minute introductory video to La Via Campensina’s work.