The year 2020 and the COVID-19 crisis have left communities around the world with a host of challenges ranging from skyrocketing hunger to civil rights violations. The Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine (SBCAM) and the All Nepal Peasants’ Federation (ANPFa) have been the backbone of their communities’ well-being over the course of the pandemic and have recently been recognized by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) for their exceptional efforts as the winners of the 12th Annual Food Sovereignty Prize!
The Food Sovereignty Prize recognizes organizations who understand that socially equitable, sustainable food production is necessary for the well-being and protection of farmworkers and communities everywhere – pandemic or not.
SBCAM nurtures the value of traditional Somali ways of life under the ishkashito model of cooperative farming and land ownership, allowing their farmers to enjoy the “fruits” of their collective labor by staying true to their roots. They provide their surrounding community and schools with freshly grown produce while also supporting over 200 immigrant and refugee farmers in their transition to a wholesome, food sovereign life in the United States. SBCAM is committed to creating a food secure life for the Somali-Bantu community, which they know can only happen if broader social issues like structural racism and anti-immigration sentiment are kept in check; that’s why they’ve joined forces with organizations like Black Lives Matter to speak out for the well-being of the local Somali-Bantu community as well as other marginalized groups.
The All Nepal Peasants’ Federation, formed nearly 70 years ago in 1951, similarly understands the strong connection between civil rights issues and hunger. With over 2 million members, they wield the power of community action to speak out against casteism, sexism, ageism, and to stand up for the rights of the Dalit (“untouchables” in the caste system), all while providing necessary COVID-19 relief to their community. After successfully calling for the implementation of a food sovereignty clause in Nepal’s new constitution, making it one of the first countries to do so, ANPFa continues to lobby for a just democracy and the basic human right to nutritious food for all.
Learn how you can intern, volunteer, or donate to SBCAM at https://somalibantumaine.org/
Follow ANPFa on Facebook at @ANPFRC to stay in the loop and find out how you can support their efforts.