Workshops on Grassroots feminism and agroecology: women discussing alternatives
From the 6th to the 9th of June, 5 members of the WMW International Secretariat (IS), organized a 4-day workshop in Georgia entitled “Together we build a Feminist Economy”.
The members of the secretariat, accompanied by 12 women belonging to diverse women’s cooperatives from all over Turkey, went on a 12-hour bus trip from Ankara to Akhaltsikhe in Georgia. All in all, 26 participants, from Turkey, Georgia, Poland, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Hungary, North Macedonia, Egypt, Moldova, and Iran, working on food production, sovereignty, agroecology, and organic farming participated. The discussions were translated into Turkish and English to ensure everyone could participate.
The World March of Women held the Balkan Feminist Organising School on 13-17 May 2022 in Turkey where women from Georgia and Armenia as well as Balkan countries attended. It was the first step taken to introduce a proposal for a feminist economy based on the sustainability of life and food sovereignty. All participants shared the need and necessity of a feminist economy as an alternative and expressed their commitment to advancing this organizing process in the region. We planned to organize the continuation of this three-day training in different countries every year.
To deepen our collective understanding of the feminist economy and advance international articulation of feminist thought and practices, we organized a workshop hosted by Georgian rural women on 6-9 June 2023 with diverse participation from 3 continents.
We designed this workshop for it to become a tool to face the ongoing and continuous attacks on people’s rights, livelihoods, and food sovereignty, both as agricultural systems, the right to food, and peasant and feminist movements, as well as the practice of organizing and producing food.
1- To extend and strengthen the World March of Women in the new territories specifically in Eastern Europe, Caucasian countries, Central Asia and MENA;
2- To share solutions, challenges and build solidarity between grassroots feminist organizations from different regions of the World;
3- To produce an International articulation of feminist practices on agroecology and food sovereignty;
4- To strengthen feminist and rural social movements.
For four days, the participants discovered and discussed existing links between feminism, food sovereignty, and the effects of patriarchal and capitalist policies. The Feminist Economy framework was introduced, along with grassroots feminism, agroecology as well as several fundamental concepts and themes. The importance of seed sovereignty, access to land, and capitalist agricultural policies were discussed at the base of those concepts.
The third day concentrated on the challenges faced by the cooperatives and groups, deducing needed alternatives.
The 4th day was dedicated to a tour of the Akhaltsikhe rural region, as well as a cheese-making session in one of the local traditional houses.
Those four days witnessed passionate discussions about women’s experiences, during which they listened to each others’ stories, the discussions, and through the mistikas. The participants, all active in the field of agriculture at different levels, benefitted not only from meeting women from different backgrounds but also from being in contact with radical definitions and conceptions, which they were experiencing but were never able to name before.
The workshop was an important initiative, as it allowed the WMW to experiment with its radical approach and witness the feminist groups’ and cooperatives’ interactions with and integration of such complex conceptions.