November 24-26, 2011
Four Points by Sheraton London
For the Love of the Land was chosen as the convention theme this year in order to celebrate and explore the central role that the land plays in the lives of farmers, peasants, indigenous peoples, and society more generally.
Convention offers us a chance to celebrate together all that the land has brought us over the past year. It will also offer us the opportunity to explore land issues such as land grabbing and soil degradation, in an attempt to uncover their implications for the future of our food systems.
Our hope is that we all gain a renewed appreciation for our relationship with the land, and how it shapes our social, economic, and cultural well being.
Dr. David Montgomery is author of “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations,” which examines the natural and cultural history of soil from ancient civilizations to modern times, and argues that we have been gradually using up the earth’s soil. Montgomery was born in Stanford California, and earned his PhD in geomorphology at UBC Berkeley. He currently teaches at the University of Washington where he studies the evolution of topography and how geological processes shape landscapes and influence ecological systems.
Ellen Gabriel is former president of the Quebec Native Women’s Association. She grew up in Kanehsata:ke, where her heroes were her grandmother, mother, and aunts who joined the women’s movement to fight for equality rights for Native women. Her interest in justice and human rights was spurred by the various social revolutions that tool place in the 1960s. She was chosen by her community to be a spokesperson for them during the Oka Crisis in 1990. Since then she has spoken around the world about the rights violations that took place there. Gabriel believes that education is one of the keys to for Aboriginal peoples to overcome oppression and the effects of colonization, while still maintaining other language cultures and traditions.
Devlin Kuyek is a researcher and activist at GRAIN, which is a small international non-profit organization that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and bio-diversity based food systems. Kuyek has worked with NGOs and peasant organizations in Malaysia and the Philippines. He is GRAIN’s most active researcher, focussing on monitoring and analyzing global agribusiness, including the global land rush. Devlin is based in Montreal.
Dr. Susan Machum is a Canada Research Chair in Rural Social Justice, at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, NB. Her research investigates how rural communities are responding to the opportunities and challenges farmers face as they adapt to meet local needs rather than export markets. Machum is examining the impacts current policies are having on farm household incomes and livelihoods. She is also analyzing how local food movement initiatives are transforming production practises and contributing to sustainability. In addition, she is detailing how rural communities are revitalizing their livelihoods, and creating new opportunities for themselves amid global social and economic change.