Mobilising support example:
Poison a la carte
|Organisation||Instituto Terraviva (ITViva)|
|Type||Civil Society Organization|
SummaryIn October 2017, the Terraviva Institute took action using artistic interventions in public spaces to raise awareness among the population of two cities in the state of Alagoas, Brazil, about food contamination by pesticides. The action took place during the week celebrating World Food Day and also contributed to the dissemination of a national campaign for the approval of the National Policy for Reducing Agrochemical Use (Law 6670 of 2016), from the online platform #ChegadeAgrotoxicos (No more pesticides), a joint initiative of movements and organizations: Permanent Campaign Against Pesticides and For Life, Greenpeace, Brazilian Association of Collective Health, Brazilian Association of Agroecology, National Articulation of Agroecology, Healthy Eating Alliance, Tobacco Control Alliance, Unified Workers Central (CUT), National Forum for Fighting Pesticide Effects,, FIAN Brazil, Fiocruz, Brazilian Food Security and Sovereignty Forum, Idec, Slow Food and Via Campesina. With a lot of creativity, in partnership with local artists, the group prepared a restaurant scene, in points of great circulation in the cities, as a motto for dialogue with the population. The restaurant was ironically called "Poison a la Carte". Posters and megaphones were also used to convey messages about the dangers of pesticides and alternative proposals in the field of the agroecology. As a result, the action sensitized 5,000 people about the harmful effects of pesticide use on food production and agroecological practices; guided media outlets, which included in their articles the points of view contrary to the use of pesticides and favorable to agroecology and food security and sovereignty; and contributed to the national campaign for pesticide reduction by collecting around 400 signatures for the #ChegadeAgrotoxico online petition.
Brazil, according to the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), stands out on the world stage as the largest consumer of pesticides, in absolute numbers, accounting for 86% of the consumer market in Latin America. The high level of consumption is mainly caused by improper management, with excess doses above the recommended quantities, without registration for specific crops and often with mixtures of active ingredients, causing harmful synergies to environmental health. This generates great concern and problems to face, as the population has access to food with unknown levels of residues of the pesticides used. The use of pesticides and the lack of knowledge about the quality of food generate a situation of food insecurity and endanger the health of the population, especially because they contain substances that cause cancer, allergies and a series of life-threatening syndromes. In addition, pesticides cause strong environmental impacts, with soil and water contamination.
This scenario is even more worrying with the expansion of the agribusiness at the expense of environmental protection, and the increase of propposed legislation to further enable the use of pesticides in Brazil, such as the Draft Law 6299 of 2002, known as "Poison Pack."
Some actions are necessary to reduce the use of pesticides in food production in Brazil. The population needs to be adequately informed about the harmful effects of pesticides on health and the environment, as well as on the possibilities of producing and consuming healthy foods; policies to support the production and consumption of agroecological foods should be created and / or expanded; legislation on the subject needs to consider the food security of the population; there must be greater supervision for compliance with the legislation that regulates the use of pesticides; the spaces for social control of public policies must be strengthened.
The action performed by the Terraviva Institute was mainly directed to: information / awareness of the population and creation of appropriate legislation and policies.
Which stakeholders (NGO’s, government, private sector) did you identify as allies and how did you involve them?
Popular movement organisations and civil society organisations, religious and ecumenical organisations, public bodies. Some were directly involved and others are potential allies of this cause, as follows:
- Permanent Campaign Against Pesticides and For Life, Greenpeace, Brazilian Association of Collective Health, Brazilian Association of Agroecology, National Articulation of Agroecology, Healthy Eating Alliance, Tobacco Control Alliance, Unified Workers Central (CUT), National Forum for Fighting Pesticide Effects, FIAN Brazil, Fiocruz, Brazilian Food Security and Sovereignty Forum, Idec, Slow Food and Via Campesina, are movements and organizations promoting the campaign and online platform #ChegadeAgrotoxico (No more pesticides), activity that involves the action.
- Educational institutions, and, more directly involved in the action, the Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL) and the Federal Institute of Alagoas, especially students of agroecology and agronomy, from Maceió and Arapiraca. They were involved collaborating in mobilization activities such as collecting petition signatures, distributing and fixing posters and supporting general logistics.
- Family Farming Association Center
- CEAPA, Community Seed Banks Cooperative
- COPPABACS, Diocesan Caritas of Palmeira dos Indios, Alternative Farmers Association
- AAGRA and Semiarid Articulation
- ASA, are Terraviva partners and potential supporters of the cause.
- Socio-environmental organizations and movements; Health / nutrition workers categories; Parliamentarians linked to socio environmental and agroecology causes; Small producers of agroecological and family agriculture; Associations of teachers, are sensitized parties in the theme or can be potential allies.
- Some public agencies such as Federal Public Prosecution Office, Labor Public Prosecution Office, Federal Public Defender's Office
- DPU, National Health Surveillance Agency
- Anvisa, Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources
- Ibama and National Cancer Institute, issued public notes with positions contrary to the draft bill 6299/2002
- Poison Package.
- Concils for Rights such as the Food and Nutrition Security National Council
- CONSEA, the National Health Council and the National Human Rights Council, which also issued opposing positions.
Which stakeholders did you identify as neutral and how did you mobilise them?
- General population invited to interact or watch the interventions and sign the petition.
- Press vehicles, sending releases and making contacts with journalists with whom the entity already had some relationship.
Which stakeholders did you identify as opponents and why were they opposed?
- Large food production companies, because their raw material contains pesticides.
- Large food marketing networks, for purchasing their products with pesticides.
- Companies that produce pesticides for profiting from the sale of these products.
- Congressmen who were proponents and in favor of the Bill 6299 of 2002 (Poison Package), for defending the flexibility of pesticide use and being against reduction policies.
- Congressmen connected to the agribusiness, by direct linkage of this activity with the use of pesticides.
- Major global agricultural corporations, for dominating the commercial seed market and because they are also pesticide producers.
How did you involve your beneficiaries in the stakeholder analysis/campaign?
The participation of the beneficiaries happened in the execution of the project, during the artistic interventions in the streets, directly, participating in the performance, and indirectly, as spectators. In both situations, the participants were encouraged to reflect on the main theme of the proposal: pesticide contamination in the food consumed.
Thus, in short, the beneficiaries were generally involved in three different ways in the action:
1 - Beneficiaries who actively participated in the artistic intervention, signed the petition #ChegadeAgrotoxico and were informed about the purposes of the action;
2 - Beneficiaries who participated as spectators of the interventions and/or signed the petition #ChegadeAgrotoxico and were informed about the purposes of the action;
3 - Beneficiaries who signed the petition #ChegadeAgrotoxico and were informed about the purposes of the action.
Short description of the organisation implementing the action/campaign
The Terraviva Institute is a civil society organisation, created in 1996, under the name “Movimento Minha Terra” (My Earth Movement), with the main objective of discussing and presenting alternatives to the critical situation of agriculture in the state of Alagoas. Through discussions with leaders, it formulated proposals for the agricultural sector becoming a representative organisation of alternative thinking to the dominant agriculture model. The institution was formalised in 2000 and began to work on family farming and agroecology, carrying out several projects in these areas in various cities of the state, as well as participating in networks and forums, as, among others, the Alagoas Forum for Fighting Pesticide Effects, the State Council of Food and Nutrition Security and the State Council for the Development of Family Farming and Agrarian Reform. Instituto Terraviva's mission is to contribute to raising environmental quality in Alagoas through agroecological principles and the promotion of studies and projects focused on sustainability.
August 14 to October 31, 2017
1. To promote access to information and public awareness about the risks of pesticide contamination in food, by performing artistic and cultural interventions in public spaces in the cities of Maceió and Arapiraca, Alagoas.
2. To ensure wide dissemination of sustainable food production systems that guarantee people’s food security and sovereignty with the adherence of new social actors in the spaces and discussion and encouragement in the search for healthy eating.
3. To contribute to the approval of the National Policy for Reducing Agrochemical Use ((Law 6670 of 2016), by collecting signatures for the #ChegadeAgrotoxico national campaign petition, platform promoted by: Permanent Campaign Against Pesticides and For Life, Greenpeace, Brazilian Association of Collective Health, Brazilian Association of Agroecology, National Articulation of Agroecology, Healthy Eating Alliance, Tobacco Control Alliance, Unified Workers Central (CUT), National Forum for Fighting Pesticide Effects, FIAN Brazil, Fiocruz, Brazilian Food Security and Sovereignty Forum, Idec, Slow Food and Via Campesina.
1. Five thousand people made aware of the harmful effects of pesticide use on food production and about agroecological alternatives.
2. Journalistic media and state food and environmental health networks willing to consider views contrary to the use of pesticides and favorable to agroecology and food security and sovereignty.
3. Increased the number of signatures of the #ChegadeAgrotoxico petition for the approval of the National Policy for Reducing Agrochemical Use, with the collection of about 400 signatures.
Description of preparatory activities
1. Team and partner meetings to plan an action for World Food Day.
2. Mobilisation of partners, artists, stakeholders.
3. Preparatory meetings for the creation and rehearsals of the artistic intervention to be performed.
4. Preparation of the promotional graphic materials and mobilisation.
5. Preparation of signature materials for the #ChegadeAgrotoxico petition.
6. Putting up posters in the poles around the intervention sites, distribution and hanging of the banners.
7. Disclosure of the agenda for the main traditional media outlets of the cities involved as well as alternative and popular media.
Description of implementation
1. Five urban interventions carried out in public spaces, central points of food commercialization, three in Maceió and two in Arapiraca. A restaurant scene was set up, in which passers-by are invited to sit at tables. The “customers” received a menu with the food and their respective levels of contamination. The climax occurred when the “chef” came on the scene, wearing a protective mask, spraying the food served with pesticides. The scene was accompanied by reflections on the chosen foods and the impacts of pesticide use.
2. Distribution of communication materials on intervention, the pesticides and the agroecology (magnets, posters, flyers).
3. Volunteer action using megaphones and approaching passers-by to collect signatures for the #ChegadeAgrotoxico petition.
4. Coverage of the interventions by the conventional media, such as the story presented by one of the largest television networks in the state of Alagoas, plus alternative and popular channels.
5. Capture of photographic and video images, which were used as visibility institutional material and subsidised mobilizstions of the Terraviva Institute in favor of agroecology and against pesticides.
Description of time investment
August 14 to October 31, 2017
Preparatory Activities: August 14 to October 13, 2017
Action Week: October 16-20, 2017
Final Activities and Accountability: 23-31 October 2017
Description of costs in Reais (R$) in 2017:
Stage materials and staging of artistic interventions - R$ 500.00
Banner printing for interventions - R$ 70.00
Poster printing for mobilisation (500 posters) - R$ 600.00
Menu printing for interventions - R$ 30.00
Magnets printing for mobilisation / dissemination (400) - R$ 700.00
Online promotion - R $ 50.00
Production of communication and promotion materials - R$ 2,700.00
Audiovisual production - R$ 3,500.00
Intervention artistic production - R$ 3,500.00
Food for preparatory meetings and interventions – R$ 1,500.00
Team transportation for preparatory mobilisation and interventions – R$ 1,000.00
Team accommodation for out of the city interventions - R$ 500.00
Office supplies - R$ 300.00
Total = R$ 14,250.00
Note: It should be noted that the organising team also devoted many hours of work to planning, preparing and executing activities, making contacts with potential partners, making contacts with the press, among others.
The action was presented as a successful experience to the State Food and Nutrition Security Council with good reception. The project carried out proved that it is possible and necessary to perform creative socio-educational interventions related to agroecology and the fight against the excessive use of pesticides in the Brazilian diet, stimulating the critical view on the part of the population. The project actions were carried out in two cities, showing the importance of local roots and dissemination of the theme and of the campaign to expand popular support. The Terraviva Institute continued focusing on, participating in and supporting actions related to the fight against pesticides. Some materials used in the action held in 2017, such as posters and a video continue to be used in actions and demonstrations, as well as the methodology employed.
In December 2018, the Bill 6670 of 2016 establishing the National Policy for Reducing Agrochemical Use was approved by the Special Committee of the House of Representatives, despite the attempt to prevent this by ruralist members of the Parliament, who pleaded for a new vote now in the House plenary. Since it was launched in 2016, the #ChegadeAgroxico online platform has reached over one and a half million subscriptions by August 2019.
It is noteworthy that the Terraviva Institute in 2019 also participated in the execution of the Banquetaço, an act carried out by various organisations and social movements for the maintenance of the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security (CONSEA), after being abolished by the current Brazilian government on the first day of the year, along with other instances of participation that have been dismantled. The action featured a large collective banquet with products from family and agroecological agriculture in defense of good nutrition. A few months after this action, there was a congressional deliberation for the recreation of CONSEA, but it was vetoed by the Presidency. The fight against pesticides and for healthy eating remains an important and urgent issue in Brazil. Between January to July of 2019, the country has released 290 pesticides for use, a record for the last ten years.