Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign

Rural Workers Association (ATC) UK speaker tour 26 Oct – 4 November

From 26 October – 4 November Marlen Sanchez and Erika Takeo from the ATC will be doing a UK speaker tour co-ordinated by the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign (NSC).

Marlen is the director of the Latin America Institute for Agroecology (IALA) in Nicaragua and Erika is the co-ordinator of the solidarity network Friends of the ATC. Both Erika and Marlen also work in the international relations secretariat of the Rural Workers Association (ATC) and CLOC, the Latin America region of global movement La Via Campesina.

During the speaker tour Marlen and Erika will be highlighting why social transformation is essential to building food sovereignty and agroecology in harmony with people and the planet and why IALAs are so important to providing training for the next generation of agroecologists.

In a world fraught with multiple crises, we have much to learn from the ATC and La Via Campesina whose slogan is ‘Globalise struggle, globalise hope.

What is La Via Campesina ?

La Via Campesina (LVC), set up in 2003, is a global movement of 200 million peasant farmers, indigenous peoples and rural workers in 81 countries. The ATC in Nicaragua is a founder member of La Via Campesina.

The LVC denounces the human and environmental destruction of the international food system dominated by global corporations. This destruction has been further exacerbated by the climate crisis, the COVID pandemic and war related disruptions to global food chains that pose ever greater threats to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across the world.

The LVC promotes, in theory and practice, alternatives based on holistic principles incorporating food sovereignty, land rights, agroecology, food sovereignty, climate justice and social transformation.

“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture.” LVC

What is the role of the Nicaragua Rural Workers Association (ATC)?

The ATC was formed as part of a broad alliance of diverse sectors of the population which overthrew the 45-year, US-backed Somoza dictatorship in 1979.

Since then the ATC has played a key role in fighting for the rights of small scale farmers and rural workers in improving their living conditions, and strengthening the rural economy so that farmers are able to feed themselves and their communities.

With 50,000 members the ATC has two main areas of work: defending the rights of agricultural workers in the banana, tobacco, coffee and sugar cane industries; and strengthening struggles for political, economic, social and climate justice in rural areas.

The ATC organises small scale farmer associations and cooperatives that grow a diverse range of crops, including maize, beans, rice, tropical fruit, and livestock using agroecological methods.

What are Latin America Institute of Agroecology (IALAs)?

Since 2006 training the next generation of agroecologists has been prioritised by CLOC, the regional representation of LVC through the setting up of a network of IALAs. These schools provide holistic political, ideological and technical training based on food sovereignty, agroecology and social transformation in harmony with the environment.  The most recent, covering the Mesoamerican region is IALA Axim Ulew in Nicaragua, was set up by the ATC in 2018.

What are the objectives of the speaker tour?

  • To build solidarity links between the ATC, the Landworkers Alliance (LWA, the UK affiliate of La Via Campesina) and other like-minded UK organisations. This is part of helping to strengthen LVC as an international movement in the lead up to an international conference of LVC in Nicaragua in November 2023
  • To provide opportunities for an exchange of ideas, information and experience between the ATC and UK farmers, small holders, market traders and others who form part of the LWA
  • To promote the work of IALAs as a Latin American example of providing holistic opportunities for young people covering political, ideological and technical training based on food sovereignty, agroecology and social transformation in harmony with the environment

Further information:

For enquiries about the speaker tour co-ordinated by the NSC:   07957 293 792



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