From Doomsday to Everyday: SoS Now More than Ever - USC Canada

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From Doomsday to Everyday: SoS Now More than Ever - USC Canada

ng The GlobWhat if we were to pour the billions in agro-industry investment into more sustainable, local, farmer-drivensystems? The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently argued that organic production could feedour growing population. Farmers in USC Canada’s Seeds of Survival (SoS) program are proving them right. Evenin places that border deserts, like Mali, farmers are diversifying their crops and diets, growing varieties that aremore tolerant to drought, and building stable food supplies.PEOPLE: BEATING THE FOOD CRISISSince 2000, global food stocks have dropped by over 50%. The World Bank says 37 countries are at risk of food riots overfood shortages. If these trends continue, riots and rationing could be commonplace. Properly supported, small producers,already responsible for 50% of our food supply, could play a major role in rebuilding those stocks. That’s why we promote foodsovereignty: farmers’ right to grow their own food, build their knowledge, and control their food production systems.Preserving the knowledge of elders is akey component of the seed bank system.Seed drying in HumlaTaslima (white scarf) has growninto a community leaderPhoto: Susan Walsh, Ethiopia Photo: Susan Walsh, Nepal Photo: Courtney Clark, BangladeshSecure Seeds and BlendedKnowledgeIn Ethiopia, Seeds of Survival – foundedin the wake of that country’s tragic faminein the mid-eighties – has long broughtfarmers and scientists together to conserveand enhance seeds and crops that canhandle climate extremes. Now our partner,Ethio-Organic Seed Action, is establishingcommunity seed bank systems as a commons- a public space to guard fine-tuned seedsand crops for times of need. The seed banksystem will also include a small library aswell as space for training and broader-basedcollaboration between farmers and scientistsfrom within and outside Ethiopia.Control over ProductionIn Nepal, the high-mountain district ofHumla is often called the Rooftop of the World.It’s remote; reached only by plane or a 26-dayhike. Still, expensive hybrid seeds and fertilizers,promising higher yields, made their way intothe region. The gains were short-lived andwithin just a few years, yields and soil fertilitydropped dramatically. By contrast, farmers fromour SoS program had better harvests and morenutritious foods on their tables. Convinced thatsynthetic chemicals do more harm than good,they successfully lobbied local authorities tostop promoting and importing them. In 2007,the district was declared chemical-free. Farmfamilies on the rooftop of the world hope toenjoy a much brighter future.Supporting the Next GenerationIn Bangladesh, a growing number ofrural youth are not inspired to farm as theirparents do. It doesn’t seem worth it. Taslima, an18-year-old graduate of our Lifeskills Educationand Adolescent Development (LEAD) program,was facing the prospect of leaving her village tofind work in the city. But when offered organicagriculture training through a USC-sponsoredAdolescent Resource Centre (ARC), she jumpedat the chance. She negotiated land from heruncle to start an organic vegetable farm. Afterone year, her garden is flourishing! Her family’sdiet is healthier and she has even startedteaching others, using her LEAD experience togrow into a strong community leader. Taslima’sdesire to farm successfully is not unique –between 100 and 250 girls in each of 25 ARCshave signed up for training.USC Canada • Building A Just World Together Annual Report 2008


al PantryThese farmers we work with now earn enough to keep their children from leaving for demeaning work incity slums. They can put nutritious food on the table, giving their children the energy they need to stay inschool and to stay healthy. If we are to protect the plants we eat, the people who grow it, and the planet thatsustains us, we need, more than ever, an approach that values farmers and the diversity they can nurture.PLANET: THE FUTURE OF FOODThe food crisis is sharing media space with dire climate change warnings and news of natural disasters. By using local,natural materials, increasing the diversity of their seeds and crops, and nurturing the broader ecosystem, farmersare not only adapting to climate change, but also slowing its pace. Whereas industrial farms, with their heavy use of fossilfuels, produce a net release of carbon dioxide, smaller organic farms can capture and incorporate it into the soil. If all thecropland in the U.S., for instance, was able to achieve the same carbon capture rate as U.S. organic farms (about 7,000 lbCO 2 /acre/year), it would reduce that country’s fossil fuel emissions by 25%.Diversity HotspotsIn Bolivia, with their variedecosystems and bountiful waters,mountains are biodiversity hotspots. Thisyear, USC Canada reached out to Boliviansfrom the Potosí highlands – a centre oforigin for the potato and other root crops.On heavily eroded hillsides, farmers arerebuilding diversity, valuing their localvarieties, processing them for sale in citymarkets, and selling them atPhoto: German Jarro Tumiri, BoliviaDiversity in Bolivian fields.monthly eco-fairs. Rural and urbanconsumers are, once again, eatingthe vitamin-rich, tasty spuds of a pastgeneration. In the nine months sinceour partner PRODII (ComprehensiveInterdisciplinary Development Program)helped farmers launch the fairs, theirincomes have increased by an averageof 50%. Their families are not only eatingwell but they now have cash to purchaseschool supplies, farm equipment, andhousehold goods.The Seed Map: Food, Farmers & Climate ChaosThis year, USC Canada and a kindred organization, the ETC Group,produced The Seed Map to explain the origins of the global foodsupply, the corporate and climate threats to that supply, and howdiversity can be rebuilt and saved. We have distributed over3,000 copies across the globe, and we’re set to reach a broaderaudience through an interactive version of the map atwww.seedmap.org. Check it out, and order your free copy ofthe seed map today.The Seed Map, a free resource, explains the origins of the global food supply and the threats to that supply.


Susan Walsh, Ricarda Steinbrecher, Colleen Ross, and LucySharratt urge Canada to ban terminator technology.USC board member MambyFofana addressing climatechange in front of ParliamentACTIVE CITIZENSHIPPhotos: Faris Ahmed, CanadaMost of USC Canada’s support involves working directly with farmers who are determined to build more resilientand healthier communities. But unless we also engage the public to tackle broader policy issues, both in Canadaand overseas, local successes will not be sustainable. Every year we encourage debate and dialogue between the publicand policymakers, organizing events around issues like biofuels, terminator technology, and climate change. For photosand audio reports, visit www.usc-canada.org.Biofuels – With partner organizations,USC Canada carried out a series of publicforums across the country, asking Canadiansto look critically at the push to use cropsto feed cars. Scientists warn that biofuelsare deepening the food crisis. And farfrom being a silver bullet fix for climatechange, throughout the full productioncycle of biofuels, some generate highergreenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels.Our message reached thousands, who calledon government to reconsider Canada’srenewable energy strategy.Terminator – We co-hosted a publicforum in Ottawa to present the urgent casefor a ban on terminator seeds – geneticallyengineered to be sterile after first harvest.While a world-wide moratorium on thefield-testing and commercialization of thetechnology still holds, corporations andsome governments continue to push forterminator seeds.Climate Change – A team of Africanagriculture specialists travelled to Ottawato stress that climate change is not a fearfor tomorrow, but a harsh reality for Africanfamilies today. They spoke to media, public,policymakers, and Parliament about hownow, more than ever, they need our supportto fight climate change.Connecting with YouThrough documentary screenings, a “Reel Food”film festival, concerts, dozens of presentations,and one-on-one storytelling at communityevents, we connected with more than 10,000people across the country! Five organic farmershelped us reach even more people by supplyingfree seeds and encouraging you to be SeedSaviours – protecting diversity through seedsaving and seed sharing.Singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn, a longtimechampion of our work, continued to offerinvaluable support, this time by journeying toNepal for a new documentary film highlightingUSC’s work. He met farmers like Dirga BahdurShahi, from the mountain village of Dandafaya.Dirga wisely chose a fertile location close to thelocal trade route to start his vegetable business.There was only one problem: it was full ofhuge volcanic boulders. For 8 years, he andhis brother worked to move the heavy lumpsof lava using only simple wooden hand toolsand lighting fires under the boulders. His visionand persistence led to a business that nowcontributes $2,400 a year to his family income– eight times the local average. As Dirga put it,“Everything is possible, nothing is impossible!”Dirga shows off his produce.Photo: Susan Walsh, NepalMore and more Canadians arerecognizing how our actions athome have an impact on people halfa world away. Through everydaychanges like buying local produce,or direct action such as contactingyour Member of Parliament, youcan make a difference. If Dirga canmove mountains, surely he and hisfellow farmers deserve our efforts tochange the bigger picture.USC Canada • Building A Just World Together Annual Report 2008


TOP 5 REASONS TO SUPPORT SEEDS OF SURVIVAL (SOS):1. To Fight Hunger: Thousands of people around theworld die of starvation every day, more than from wars ornatural disasters. Seeds of Survival is fighting this silent tsunamione village at a time.2. To Support Healthy Families: Help farmers restockthe global pantry and ensure a reliable, nutritious, and diversesupply of food, free of toxic chemicals.3. To Ensure the Future of Farming: By sharingand selecting seeds in their fields, farmers maintain diversefood crops that are resistant to threats. We all rely on thisdiversity to guarantee healthy, nutritious food today and intothe future.4. To Build Economic Justice: The profits from farmer’shard work should stay in their wallets, not in the bank accountsof multinational seed companies. Seeds of Survival freesfarmers from a dependency on expensive seeds and chemicalfertilizers.5. To Help Cool the Planet: Did you know that 17% ofglobal greenhouse gas emissions come from industrial factoryfarming? Eco-friendly agriculture not only grows the food weneed but slows climate change, removing greenhouse gassesfrom the air by storing carbon in the soil.Be a Part of Dr Lotta’s Legacy!Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova founded USC Canada in 1945. Shemobilized support for agricultural production and suppliedseeds to farmers for planting, and in recognition, a newoat variety was named after her. To honour her legacy,and to ensure that USC is able to help farming families forgenerations to come, USC’s Board of Directors establishedthe Lotta Hitschmanova Legacy Fund.Contact David Rain, 1-800-565-6872 x231or rain@usc-canada.org.Donate to SoS today by calling 1-800-565-6872 or by making a secure on-line gift at www.usc-canada.orgTAKE ACTION CHECKLISTYou can also act locally to help build a better food system by:❑❑Learning more about biofuels and climate change:Visit www.usc-canada.org to see why we believe that foodbelongs on plates, not in cars.Writing a Letter/Making a call about Terminator Seeds:Canada should discourage any limit on farmers’ foodsovereignty. Write your MP and demand a permanent❑❑Considering your Ecological Footprint: reduce your energyconsumption and walk more lightly on our fragile planet.Buying Local/Buying Organic: One of the best ways toencourage support for small farmers is to create a demandfor what they grow. And since it’s these farmers thatmaintain diversity – even in Canada – it’s critical they get our❑ban on Terminator in Canada.Coming to our Events: USC regularly holds events topromote dialogue on policy issues that have a majorimpact on the lives of the farmers we work with. Come❑support. Become a consumer activist!Volunteering: Volunteers are an important part of our team,lending their skills, time, and expertise on public education,fundraising, communications, and administration. Ask usjoin in the discussion.how you can help.USC Canada • Building A Just World Together Annual Report 2008


FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED APRIL 30, 2008USC CANADA Statement of Financial PositionCurrent assets 403,595Advances to overseas partners and projects 781,149Investment (at market value) 616,500Capital assets 86,9591,888,203Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 330,988Deferred contributions 1,265,1361,596,124Net assets 292,079Statement of Revenue and ExpensesCIDA 4,862,944Support from general public 1,100,295USC Foundation 530,000R. Howard Webster Foundation 250,000Other (including investment income) 101,202Total revenue 6,844,441Program expenses 5,733,206Non-program expenses 1,092,102Total expenses 6,825,308Excess of revenue over expenses 19,133Expense Allocation11%6%International Programs77%6%AdministrationFundraisingUSC FOUNDATION Statement of Financial PositionCurrent assets 220,748Investments (at market value) 7,285,056Charitable remainder trust 59,7347,565,538Accounts payable & accrued liabilities 54,368Net assets 7,511,170Net assets comprised ofUnrestricted 39,973Lotta Hitschmanova Legacy Fund 7,298,220Stewart Moore Endowment 60,312Manson & Mary Toynbee Endowment 201,245Kurt & Evelyn (Russell) Haas Endowment 56,000Ten-year gifts 97,955Change in market value -242,5357,511,170Statement of Revenue and ExpensesBequests 532,212Investments 361,273Other 1,625Total revenue 895,110Administrative & Fundraising expenses 38,864Contribution to USC Canada 530,000Total expenses 568,864Excess of revenue over expenses 326,246Canadian ProgramsThank you to all our donors – individuals, government agencies, foundations, corporations and their employees’ funds, and all the USCworkgroups and volunteers. USC Canada acknowledges the generous support of the Canadian International Development Agency, and is pleased torecognize the following organizations that offered assistance in 2007-2008.• The C.L. Copland FamilyFoundation Inc.• Carmen & Frances D’IntinoCharitable Trust• Citizens Bank Shared Interest Fund• The communities of the BurinPeninsula, Newfoundland• Community Foundation of Ottawa• Cranmere (Holloway/Varder)Trust -Victoria Foundation• The Derick Brenninkmeyer CharityFoundation• Eagle-Com Foundation• Elinor Ratcliffe (Gill RatcliffeFoundation)• Elkays (Kunelius) Fund - CalgaryFoundation• Employees’ Funds• EnCana Cares Foundation• Fondation Edward Assh• Golden Key InternationalHonour Society• Greta’s Organic Gardens• The Harbinger Foundation• Hope Seeds & Perennials• Justin & Elisabeth Lang Foundation• Link Charity Canada Inc.• Manitoba Council for InternationalCooperation (MCIC)• Manulife Financial• The Marguerite Hubbard CharitableFoundation• The Morrison Foundation• Nexen Inc.• Ontario Power Generation Employees’and Pensioners’ Charity• The Peterborough K.M. HunterCharitable Foundation• Pirie Foundation• R. Howard Webster Foundation• The St. Stephen’s - BroadwayFoundation• Salt Spring Seeds• Saskatchewan Council forInternational Cooperation (SCIC)• Schools, Universities, and Churchesacross Canada• Southworth Charitable Foundation• The Sprott Foundation• Stellar Seeds• Strategic Charitable Giving Foundation• Two Wings Farm• Unitarian congregations acrossCanada• United Way Chapters• USC Workgroup and Volunteers• Virginia Middelberg Fund - CalgaryFoundation


MISSION STATEMENTUSC Canada promotes vibrant family farms, strong rural communities, and healthy ecosystems around theworld. With engaged Canadians and partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, we support programs, training,and policies that strengthen biodiversity, food sovereignty, and the rights of those at the heart of resilient foodsystems — women, indigenous peoples, and small-scale farmers.HONORARY PATRONHer Excellency the Right HonourableMichaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.,Governor General and Commander-in-Chiefof CanadaUSC CANADA BOARD OFDIRECTORS 2007/2008Pauline Port (Chair/Canada), a charteredaccountant, is vice president of corporateservices and Chief Financial Officer forCanadian Blood Services (CBS).Mark Austin (Director/Canada), who runs awild blueberry farm in Cumberland County,is the Sustainability Coordinator for the cityof Truro, NS.Doris Pilar Balvin Diaz (Director/Peru) is anenvironmental lawyer and consultant whofounded the Peruvian NGO Benala, to focuson socio-environmental conflicts, dialogue,and training.Allison Barrett (Director/Canada) is theMinister of the First Unitarian Church ofHamilton and a long-time advocate on socialjustice matters in Canada.Julie Delahanty (Director/Canada) iscurrently on a sabbatical from her role atthe Canadian International DevelopmentAgency as Team Leader on SocialDevelopment Policy.Richard Fast (Director/Canada) is theDirector of Communications and FundraisingCoordinator for Mennonite CentralCommittee Canada, an international reliefand development organization.Mamby Fofana (Director/Mali), farmer,agronomist, and former head of USCWest Africa, now works with the SwedishDevelopment Agency on desertification andclimate change programming.Marnie Girvan (Director/Canada) has servedas Executive Director of MATCH InternationalCentre, the Canadian Advisory Council onthe Status of Women, and the CanadianBureau of International Education.Dale Huntingford (Treasurer/Canada) is theDirector of Upstream Terminal Developmentat Enbridge Pipelines in Calgary.Anil Naidoo (Director/Canada), a longtime social justice activist, is the Directorof the Blue Planet Project of the Councilof Canadians – a global initiative aimed atachieving water justice.Wilhelmina Pelegrina (Director/Philippines)is an agronomist and the Executive Directorof SEARICE, a Philippines-based network oforganizations working for social justice andsustainable natural resource management.Gopal Siwakoti (Director/Nepal) is aprominent human rights advocate in SouthAsia and Coordinator of Water and EnergyUsers’ Federation Nepal (WAFED).Patrick Steiner (Director/Canada) isan organic farmer in BC who operatesStellar Seeds, a vegetable seed companyspecializing in open-pollinated and heritageseed varieties.Dominique Caouette (Vice-Chair/Canada)is Assistant Professor at the Université deMontréal where he teaches InternationalRelations and Southeast Asian politics.To receive periodic photographic updates onour work please go to www.usc-canada.organd sign up for our E-newsletter.Cover photos: Kate Green, India and Beatriz Oliver, Mali56 Sparks Street, Suite 705, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5B1 • Telephone: 613.234.6827 • Fax: 613.234.6842 • Toll-free line: 1-800-565-6872USC Canada was founded in 1945 as the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada • Charity Registration No. 11927-6129-RR-0001

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