Our initiative was founded in 2016 in Cluj during the Nyeleni Europe Forum. Since then it has been an intensive time for us of forging our strategy and actions and we have seen a very strong resonance among civil society initiatives and among farmer communities, as we introduced the concept of food sovereignty for the first time on Polish ground. There is clear potential for food sovereignty in the country and our dream is to build a strong movement on a regional level and to further the links and partnerships in Eastern Europe with the view to host a European Nyeleni Forum in Poland.
First of all, at the beginning of 2018 we hosted the 1st Polish Forum for Food Sovereignty (in cooperation with the Institute for Global Responsibility – IGO Poland). The 4-day event took place in Warsaw and gathered over 120 farmers, activists and members of organisations working close to the issues of food sovereignty, agroecological farming and food systems change in Poland. The event was successful in gathering interest and awareness of food sovereignty in activist and farmer circles.
We have also developed several projects and lines of cooperation in Poland and internationally throughout the past year. Some of the activities were:
Supporting the Polish Organic Farmers’ Association EKOLAND in developing a relationship with ECVC and linking Polish farmers with other Farmers Organizations from ECVC (LWA, ÖBV, Ecoruralis)
Hosting an Inter-generational Farmers’ Gathering for Food Sovereignty (link), for circa 50 Polish farmers-activists on 1–3 December 2017 (in cooperation with IGO)
Supporting a nationwide campaign for enabling direct sales of on-farm produced and processed foods and opposing supermarket expansion through the Campaign “I don’t buy in supermarkets” ttp://niekupujewsupermarkecie.wordpress.com
Introducing the Food Sovereignty movement and concept to the public debate in Poland, at various events: European Slow Food Festival in Krakow, 'Good Harvest' Seminars for Organic Farmers, Women’s Congress in Poland, Polish Gathering of Alternative Communities, European Bioeconomy Congress, and many others.
Running a series of educational Webinars (November 2017–January 2018, link) on Food Sovereignty, Global Food Justice, Agroecology, CAP, degrowth, and related topics for existing and new members (in cooperation with IGO).
Networking and recruiting Nyeleni members and creating a visible platform online.
Creating resources in Polish, e.g. educational leaflets about Food Sovereignty, La Via Campesina, Declaration of Peasant Rights, translation of reports, short educational films with topical interviews on Food Sovereignty.
One of our members took part in the Schola Campesina, the Peasant Agroecology and Global Governance training in October 2017 in Italy as well as in the VIIth International La Via Campesina Conference in Bilbao, Basque Country in July 2017 (short film available here)
Taking part in cross-European agroecological knowledgeexchange projects, like CSA exchanges and the BOND project
Supporting and linking farmers in advocacy and lobbying activities in order for the Parliament to allow direct sales of preserved products from small-scale farms and put a ban on GMO.
Introducing the Declaration of Peasant Rights campaign in Poland and beginning lobbying activities with governmental representatives.
Agro-Edu-Lab: a pilot training in public formal farming schools for next generation young farmers aimed at demonstrating to students economic viability of agroecological farms operating primarily on local markets
So far, our working model has been based mostly on the contribution of a collective of volunteer coordinators, who were the delegates from Poland during the European Nyeleni Forum in 2016 in Cluj, Romania. On several occasions we were able to write our projects into project grants in collaboration with IGO Poland but most of the time the members of our collective juggle between paid jobs and volunteer activist work.
To meet the growing amount of work and expectations we want to expand our core coordinators collective to continue advancing Food Sovereignty in the public debate. We are in need of more consistent coordinating roles that will strengthen administrative and networking processes. We want to develop our website, organize meetings for urban and rural organizations, spread information about events and facilitate cooperation between different communities.
We launched a crowdfunding campaign (https://zrzutka.pl/en/za3eg4 ) and are searching for financial support in the form of grants and direct funding to empower our outreach capacity and improve our efficiency in connecting with the growing group of members. We want to build our own financing capacity and strategy over time. We are interested to secure funding for a 2-3 year period of strategic development of the organizational structures and Nyeleni processes in Poland.
Also if you know any funding organisations or grant-givers who would be keen on supporting the development of a young organization in Eastern Europe, please let us know or kindly forward this plea.
Help us in expanding the Nyeleni movement and connecting Polish small farmers with international political processes and La Via Campesina to bring Food Sovereignty to many new fields and tables!
We look forward to hearing from you.
Nyeleni Poland Coordinating Team
www.nyeleni.plContact us directly by email, phone or arrange a skype meeting:
Joanna Bojczewska T: 0048 695 459 857 E: [email protected]
Wojtek Mejor T: 0048 606 673 047 E: [email protected]