Press

See below for press releases and information about the Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA). Contact LWApress@riseup.net for any enquiries.

LWA films

Here is a short film made about the Landworkers’ Alliance’s ‘Feeding the Future’ demonstration outside DEFRA offices in London on April 17th.

The film was made for the Landworkers’ Alliance by Likely Story Films and Pogo Films.

 

Press Release – Landworkers’ Alliance in solidarity with milk price blockadesLWA logo small

For immediate release: 13.10.15

Starts

The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) unequivocally supports the recent round of dairy blockades launched by Farmers For Action (FFA). The LWA membership includes a number of small-scale dairy producers who, although not directly supplying to supermarkets, have been indirectly affected by recent price cuts driven by pressure from the multiple retailers.

LWA’s dairy farmers are forced to compete on price with larger-scale producers in an effort to remain competitive at the farm gate. The 3p per litre price cut since June has hit smaller farmers who are unable to achieve the economies of scale that have helped to buffer the impact on larger producers.

“The UK has lost half of all its dairy farms since 2000 thanks to neo-liberal policies that benefit processors and supermarkets. We need a new Milk Marketing Board, or something like it, to stabilize milk prices at a level that gives dairy farmers a decent living.” Says Simon Fairlie, an LWA member who runs a micro-dairy in Dorset, “I support direct action. The original Milk Marketing Board was formed in 1933 after mass demonstrations by dairy farmers and that is the only way we will ever get justice today.”

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Ends

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Press Contact: Simon Fairlie 01297 561359

e: LWApress@riseup.net

w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

 

Press Release – Landworkers’ Alliance demand support for family farming on World Food DayLWA logo small

For immediate release: 10.10.14

Starts:

The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) will be hosting a choreographed football match between Family Farmers United & Agribusiness FC at a high profile location in Westminster at 1.30pm on Thursday 16th October. The publicity stunt takes place as part of United Nation’s World Food Day, which will see coordinated actions taking place across six continents under the banner “Family Farming – Feeding the world and caring for the earth”.

The LWA is a coalition of producers across the UK who are fed up with the un-level state of the playing field between corporate and small-scale farming. Changes to agricultural policy, intensified under the coalition government, have resulted in unfair support and a skewed market that encourages production on large-scale industrial farms at the cost of smaller-scale alternatives.

“Defra policy is increasingly driven by the demands of big business and large landowners” says Dan Taylor from the LWA “We have seen clear examples of this with their recent decision to strip small farmers of entitlements to public support while at the same time refusing to limit payments to the country’s biggest industrial producers. As a referee for UK farming Defra is not only shortsighted but inherently biased.”

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina that represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Ends

Photo Opportunity:1.30pm central Westminster, contact LWA Press on the day for info

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Press Contacts:

In the UK: Adam Payne 07951 060409, Rebecca Laughton, 07813187987

e: LWApress@riseup.net

w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

 

Press Release –  Stop the EU-US trade deal 

European Coordination Via Campesina Press Release  – Brussels 08/10/14

European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) supports the European decentralized day of mobilization against TTIP on the 11th of October.

Food safety is one of the key contentious issues in the agricultural sector, together with the promotion of competition.

The UE hygiene standards and labeling that allow us to trace food to its origin and to refuse the use of growth and milk hormones, and that also ban the use of some pesticides in Europe are in serious danger from idea of the harmonisation and major lightening of sanitary standards.

The same holds true for European small-scale farming: the removal of further trade barriers will promote competition by making it easier for EU countries and EU agri-business companies to mutually invest in each other’s economy. This will threaten and limit our past efforts to link consumers and farmers, as well as endangering local food systems and food sovereignty.

The proposed EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will have a major impact on social, labour and environmental rights on both sides of the Atlantic, and will increase the liberalization of global trade and investment. For the agricultural sector, this trade deal will increase the power of agri-business corporations, thus undermining local food systems. The agreement is not the result of any democratic process, but rather of negotiations between lawyers, economists, civil servants, corporations and politicians. They have no democratic legitimacy. It is based on the domination of big corporations. The agenda is not public, nor is the process transparent.  With this trade deal, more and more natural resources, goods and services will become privatised.

ECVC is running an awareness raising campaign against the current EU and US bilateral trade negotiations. The aim is to alert policy decision-makers, citizens and media to the disastrous consequences in term of job loss, endangered democracy and damage to the environment of such a trade deal.

ECVC Spokesperson on Trade

Hanny Van Geel ( NL; EN): 0031613903434

 

Press Release – Growers unite to protect their seeds LWA logo small

For immediate release 06/10/14

The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) and Soil association (SA) will be launching a Seed Savers’ Network for farmers and growers in the South West this weekend. This regional network will be the first of many launched around the country with the aim of empowering farmers and growers to breed their own seed and develop appropriate, locally adapted varieties.

This initiative comes in response to the steady loss of appropriate seed for small-scale production and increasing moves at the European level to further concentrate control over our plant genetic resources to corporate interests.

Daniel Burston, a grower in Devon said: “For thousands of years farmers all over the world have been creating, preserving and renewing seed diversity by breeding and saving from the plants in their fields.  The diversity of agricultural seeds and the freedom of farming communities to have control over them is fundamental to our food sovereignty.”

“With this network we are creating practical on-farm solutions to rebuilding our agricultural biodiversity. Now we need political will to support these initiatives rather than continuing to sell the common inheritance of our seeds to the highest corporate bidder!”

The LWA campaigns for farmers and growers to have rights to obtain seeds from their own harvests, to breed and to distribute them.

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina that represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Photo opportunities available 11th and 12th October

Press Contacts in the UK:

Daniel Burston – 07729305393 / Adam Payne 07817 320504

LWApress@riseup.net

 

Press Release – Climate of fear among migrant workers in UK LWA logo smallagriculture

For immediate release – 03/10/2014

New research by ‘la Confédération Paysanne’ and ‘The Landworkers’ Alliance’ has uncovered the negative impact of the British industrial food production system on its workers. Interviews with workers, trade union representatives and support organisations revealed that many migrant workers were too frightened to complain about poor and often unlawful working conditions. They feared being dismissed by their employers or not being offered further work by their agency.

On the other end of the supply chain, consumers are unaware of the hidden costs of low food prices. The intensive and concentrated food system in Britain requires extreme flexibility from workers and puts them in precarious positions. Too often, farmers and food processors who are facing pressure from major retailers to lower prices do so by cutting labour costs. Migrants and agency workers are in the most vulnerable position as they are working in the most uncertain and unstable conditions. The existing institutional safeguards available to them have been undermined by the recent austerity policies and so-called “red-tape reduction” measures.

‘La Confédération Paysanne’ and ‘The Landworkers’ Alliance’, members of the international farming movement ‘la Via Campesina’ want to:

Remind policy makers that workers’ rights violations in agriculture and food production do not only happen in far-flung food production sites but also in European countries such as the UK;

Affirm that the industrial and productivist agricultural model means declining living and working conditions for millions of European small-holding farmers, and the denial of rights and worsening working conditions for millions of workers in the agriculture and food sector;

Refuse a system where cheap agricultural products are the result of low incomes for small-scale farmers and of low wages and rights violations for workers along the food supply chain;

Call for a true social conditionality to be introduced under the cross-compliance framework of the European Common Agricultural Policy;

Ask for the principle of food sovereignty to be recognized in international law.

Press contacts:

Nicolas Duntze, Farmer Program Coordinator, ‘la Confédération Paysanne’, duntzenico.la@orange.fr

Fanny Florémont, Project Officer, ‘la Confédération Paysanne’, fanny.floremont@yahoo.fr

Adam Payne, Grower and Secretary, ‘The Landworkers Alliance’ LWApress@riseup.net

La Confédération Paysanne is a French agricultural union supporting small-scale producers and striving to ensure that agricultural workers’ rights and dignity are respected. It has been working together with partner organisation and volunteer project officers to publicise migrant workers’ rights violations in the food and agricultural sector in Europe. More information about the program:

www.agricultures-migrations.org

The Landworkers’ Alliance is a union of small-scale producers and family farmers in the UK. It campaigns for the rights of small-scale producers and lobbies the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to the livelihoods of its members. The LWA is a member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world.

www.landworkersalliance.org.uk

Press Release – Farmers welcome dismissal oLWA logo smallf Owen Patterson.

For Immediate Release – 15/07/20147

 

Farmers and growers from the Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) welcome the dismissal of Owen Paterson from the position of Environment Secretary.

Rebecca Jones, a farmer and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance said “It is relieving that Owen Paterson has been removed from office. His unashamed focus on corporate agribusiness over the needs of farmers and the environment has been costly to good food and farming. We hope that his successor Liz Truss will put the environment back in Environment Secretary, and stand up to the corporate interests who will try to lead her away from environmental concerns and the needs of farmers.

She added “Ecological land use and properly funded small farms hold the key to dealing with the multiple issues of climate chaos, food security and rural unemployment. The Landworkers’ Alliance looks forward to meeting Liz Truss and discussing how she will work with us to mainstream the solutions that our members are already putting in place.”

The Landworkers’ Alliance hopes to work with Liz Truss to create supportive policy for agro-ecological farming and to level the playing field for small-scale food producers who often receive little or no financial support from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) despite providing high yields of quality food, and high levels of employment, per unit land area, alongside countless social and community benefits.

The Landworkers’ Alliance also hopes to work with the new Environment Sectary to simplify planning, waste and food hygiene regulations to make them appropriate to small scale producers as well as finding ways to support the numerous young people who want to set up new farming enterprises, but face significant obstacles to doing so.

The LWA is a member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Press Contact Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754

E: LWApress@riseup.net

W: www.landworkersalliance.org.uk

Press Release – Free-trade deal threatens UK Food Security.logo web

For immediate release 08.07.2014

Farmers and growers from the Landworkers’ Alliance will protest in London on the 12th July calling for the free trade negotiations between the EU and the US to be scrapped.

The controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the biggest bilateral trade deal in history but negotiations are taking place behind closed doors. They aim to ‘harmonise’ standards and regulations, which will mean a shift towards the lowest common denominator, with serious repercussions for farmer’s livelihoods and public health.

If the corporations involved get their way we will see the increasing import of inferior produce into the EU which will depress prices for farmers. Furthermore, important health and safety standards are at risk with US negotiators pushing to remove regulations on Genetically Modified foods, increase the quantity of pesticide residues permitted and allow the use of dangerous chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones previously banned in the EU.

“The EU’s pre-negotiation concession to allow imports of American beef decontaminated with lactic acid spray is indicative of what is to come – quality in farming and food processing will be driven down into a race to the bottom with farmers and the public loosing out” said Humphery Lloyd a grower and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance.

“This agreement is shaping up to be a hand out to corporations at the expense of public health and food security. If we degrade our import standards in line with the demands consumers will have more than just chlorine soaked chicken to worry about – this will force farmers out of business and seriously erode UK food sovereignty. We demand that the government stops selling out UK farmers and consumers in these negotiations.”

The LWA is a member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Press Contact in London:  Adam Payne: 07951 060409

e:LWApress@riseup.net

Press Release – No TTIP

Brussels, 21st May 2014

IMG_3833

  • Pan-EU civil society coalition rejects US-EU free trade deal process
  • More than 120 organisations criticise the corporate agenda in the TTIP negotiations

 

 

With the fifth round of negotiations under way between 19th-23rd May in Arlington/USA, a fundamental change in the negotiating on the EU-US free trade agreement is being demanded by an EU-wide coalition of 120 groups in a joint statement released today. The environmental groups, social movements, consumer rights groups, democracy advocate organisations and unions are opposing the corporate agenda of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP (or TAFTA, Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement).

The comprehensive TTIP is set to affect food safety, digital rights, social and labour standards and environmental protection. The statement highlights what is unacceptable in both the agreement and the negotiating process – and what European civil society groups want instead. The organisations reject:

  • the lack of transparency and democratic process in the TTIP negotiations
  • the lowering of standards inherent in the agreement,
  • the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision allowing foreign corporations to sue member state governments and the EU
  • the proposed anti-democratic governance structure, the Regulatory Cooperation Council, for an ongoing ‘harmonising’ of regulations and procedures

“TTIP is basically about corporate rights and control versus people’s rights and democratic control. It threatens to affect a broad range of issues. The strength of our EU-wide coalition is in linking our various struggles and making the big picture visible’ says Johannes Lauterbach from Attac Germany.

TTIP is being negotiated between the European Commission, acting on behalf of member states, and the US government. With US-EU tariffs already low on goods, the main thrust of TTIP is to lower standards, regulations and approval procedures which protect health and safety but are called ‘trade’ irritants’ by those promoting and negotiating the deal. The proposed Investor State Dispute Settlement provision (‘ISDS’) poses a particular threat to democratic governance, according to the broad civil society coalition.

“Clearly the aim is to lower existing regulations to the advantage of big business. The majority of farmers will see incomes reduced, and even more small farmers will be forced from their land. With protections reduced, and beef with hormones and GMOs on their plate, consumers won’t be able to say anything.” added Geneviève Savigny of European smallholders’ movement, European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC).

“Creating a transatlantic common market is core to the grand liberalisation agenda for the European and US economies. TTIP threatens to repeat the errors of the Rome Treaty: The EU is revealing itself to be a machine which puts the workers of its member countries in competition with each other and is a driving force for social dumping.”, said Wolf Jäcklein of the French trade union CGT.

“While other countries are dumping ISDS, the corporate-driven EU Commission is trying to tie us permanently into it. The breadth of resistance to ISDS, including non-government organisations, environment and consumer groups, unions and governments shows that ISDS not acceptable.” says Linda Kaucher from StopTTIP UK.

The coalition is demanding a complete rethinking of the treaty, putting citizens and the environment first with, at the minimum, transparent and democratic process, the removal of any ISDS or regulatory cooperation council provision, no deregulation of standards or further deregulation or privatisation of public services, the promotion of environmentally sustainable agricultural practices and the retention of public authorities’ political power.

“We wholeheartedly reject TTIP and the idea that further liberalisation is good for either the environment or the economy. Europe needs stronger social safety nets, more public ownership, higher standards, greater human and animal rights and increased environmental protection.” says Joe Mobbs of the French citizens’ collective Les Engraineurs.

The 21st May release of the joint statement coincides with the fifth round of negotiations and a day of action outside Washington DC, in Arlington, Virginia, where the negotiations are taking place. The coalition expresses solidarity with American counterparts protesting the free trade agreement. The European coalition has already established a close relationships with US civil society groups and plans common activities in the months ahead.

 

Further info:

Contact:

Genevieve Savigny, European Coordination Via Campesina

email: genevieve.savigny@wanadoo.fr

phone: +33625551687

 

Linda Kaucher, StopTTIP UK

email: lindakaucher@hotmail.com

phone: +44 207 265 9307

 

 

 

Press ReleaseLWA logo – Small and Family Farms are Feeding the Future

For immediate release: 10.04.14

Starts:

A new British farmers’ union opposed to the stranglehold of big business over agricultural policy will be protesting outside the Head offices of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), 16 and 17 Smith Square London, at 12.00pm on Thursday 17th April.
The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) is a coalition of small-scale producers who believe their views are not represented by the NFU – or recognized by DEFRA. The new Alliance currently boasts 150 members – many of whom have come to Smith Square to picket DEFRA and the NFU – whose headquarters are next to each other.
Under the leadership of Owen Patterson over the past two years DEFRA has strengthened its support of large-scale industrial agriculture and marginalized smaller producers, while the NFU has consistently lobbied for the interests of agribusiness and ignored the views of smaller farmers.

 

“DEFRA needs to recognise the role of small-scale producers in contributing to the national food economy, as well as the environmental and social services provided by these producers,” says Ed Hamer from the LWA.  “As a matter of urgency we demand that DEFRA create policies conducive to a sustainable food future for all.”

 

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

 

Ends
Photo Opportunity: The LWA will have two giant scarecrows on the pavement outside the offices one with the head of Owen Patterson, the other representing the NFU leadership. There will also be a “Farmers’ Market” stall to demonstrate the productivity of our members.
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Press Contact:  Adam Payne: 07951060409 / Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754 / Ed Hamer: 07858 381539
e: LWApress@riseup.net
w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

Feeding the Future: Join us for a public demonstration on April 17th

W 100_0433 (800x599) (800x599)The Landworkers’ Alliance invites you to join us demonstrating outside DEFRA offices on the 17th April to highlight the important role that small and medium scale farmers play in feeding the population and our marginalisation in agricultural policy.

We demand that DEFRA create policies that support rather than hinder small-scale farming and thereby ensure just and sustainable food provision in the future.

Gilly's 027We call on all small and medium scale farmers, growers, landworkers and aspiring farmers to join us in showing DEFRA that we have a central role in providing our nations food.

All producers please bring along some of your produce. We will be creating a ‘farmers market’ stall to illustrate the role that small-scale farmers play in providing fresh, healthy produce for their communities, and that this could be significantly up-scaled if supported by DEFRA. There will also be speakers from the Landworkers’ Alliance and other organisations, and a seed-swap highlighting the importance of farm saved seed to small-scale farming so bring along seed to share.

dean and sweetcornJoin us at 12 noon on the 17th April 2014 out side DEFRA head offices, 17 smith Square, SW1P, London.

Download the flyer here: lwaPR

Mobilisation to defend farmers rights

SeedsPlease find below a compilation of documents relevant for the press about the events of the mobilization organized by European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) on the 20th of January 2014.

FOR the rights of farmers to use and freely exchange their seeds and breeding animals, and to have unrestricted access to all available crop diversity

AGAINST patents on living organisms, and control of the seed market by multinationals

Mobilisation on Monday, January 20th 2014 at 13:00-Place du Luxembourg, in front of the European Parliament

 Read More Here:

Useful Documents:

Press_Release_ECVC-_On_the_Silvestris_Report
Press_Release_-_ECVC-_European_Seed_Regulation-_EN
Position_on_the_marketing_of_seeds_plant_health_and_controls
ECVC_on_the_PRM_plant_and_animal_health_and_official_controls_review

Landworkers’ Alliance Press ReleaseLWA logo small

For immediate release: 20.01.14

Location: European Parliament, Brussels

Farmers Rights to Seeds and breeds under threat!

The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) will be joining 27 farmers’ organizations from across Europe demonstrating outside the European Parliament today to denounce controversial legislation on the marketing of seeds, animal and plant health and restrictive regulations on food production.

Over the next two weeks the European Parliament will be voting on legislation, including the EU Plant Reproductive Material Law (PRML 2013/0137), which will have significant impacts on the livelihoods of small-scale producers. More than 300 farmers are expected to join the mobilization to defend farmers’ rights under the umbrella of La Via Campesina Europe. They are calling on the Parliament to recognize the rights of farmers’ to exchange plant materials, seeds and breeding animals.

Adam Payne, a market gardener from London and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance said “We stand for the rights of farmers to use and freely exchange their seeds and livestock, and to have unrestricted access to crop diversity. This Legislation will concentrate corporate power in the food industry making it harder for small-scale farmers and growers to make a living from their land and reducing overall variety available to consumers.”

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

 

Ends

Photo Opportunity: 15:00-16:00 20th Jan, Pl. du Luxembourg, Brussels

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Press Contact:

In Brussels: Adam Payne t: (0044) 7817 320504, e: adam@organiclea.org.uk

In the UK: Ed Hamer t: 07858 381539 e: LWApress@riseup.net

w: landworkersalliance.org.uk