Winner: The Landless Workers Movement (MST) of Brazil
Award received by Elias Araujo and Janaina Stronzake
Translation by Maria Aguiar
The Landless Workers Movement (MST) of Brazil has been a leader in social action for agrarian reform and food sovereignty for over 25 years. MST organizes landless workers to reclaim idle land, obtain legal title, and use the land productively. Through these efforts, more than 350,000 families have been settled on over 17 million hectares of land, with an additional 90,000 families organized in encampments and awaiting titles. These actions have called both domestic and international attention to unequal land distribution and to the need for agrarian reform, food sovereignty and gender equity. Additionally, the MST has established over 1000 schools serving over 150,000 students, and through its cooperatives has created 900,000 new jobs in the area of agriculture alone. In areas of MST settlements, social health indicators from infant mortality rates to school attendance tend to be exponentially better than in other parts of rural Brazil. Through international learning exchanges and service brigades, such as e.g., the MST inspires and shows solidarity with communities working towards food sovereignty across the globe.
The 2011 Food Sovereignty Prize Honorees were recognized on November 6, 2011 at the 15th Annual Conference of the Community Food Security Coalition in Oakland, CA. The Prize is supported by the Small Planet Fund, the Lawson Valentine Foundation, the Community Food Security Coalition, and WhyHunger, with in-kind support from additional organizations.