Family Farm Defenders (Kansas Chapter)

About the Kansas Chapter of Family Farm Defenders


"This is about waging love; we love ourselves, we love our children, we love the earth, we love all of life. So This is not a protest this is actually an act of waging love. The love we are talking about is the love of life not the love of death."  ----Charity Mahouna Hicks

In Memory of  Charity Mahouna Hicks, Detroit based Food Sovereignty, Human Rights and Environmental Leader 

"Against death, we demand life.
Against silence, we demand the word and respect.
Against oblivion, memory.
Against humiliation and contempt, dignity.
Against oppression, rebellion.
Against slavery, freedom.
Against imposition, democracy.
Against crime, justice."

Zapatistas Zapatista

" Should we prepare those who come after us for the path of death?...
Or should we reconstruct the path of life, that which those from above had broken and continue breaking?
The path that belongs not only to indigenous people, but to workers, students, teachers, youth, peasants, along with all of those differences that are celebrated above and persecuted and punished below...
but I was telling you that we came across this question and this dilemma.
And we chose.
And rather than dedicating ourselves to training guerrillas, soldiers, and squadrons, we developed education and health promoters, who went about building the foundations of autonomy that today amaze the world.
Instead of constructing barracks, improving our weapons, and building walls and trenches, we built schools, hospitals and health centers; improving our living conditions.
Instead of fighting for a place in the Parthenon of individualized deaths of those from below, we chose to construct life."

Love in Action: The Leadership We Need

"I open my heart and send forth my energy of love and understanding to everyone who has made me suffer, to those who have destroyed much of my life and the lives of those I love. I know now that these people have themselves undergone a lot of suffering and that their hearts are overloaded with pain, anger and hatred. I know that anyone who suffers that much will make those around them suffer. I know they may have been unlucky, never having the chance to be cared for and loved. Life and society have dealt them so many hardships. They have been wronged and abused. They have not been guided in the path of mindful living. They have accumulated wrong perceptions about life, about me, and about us. They have wronged us and the people we love. I pray to my ancestors in my blood and spiritual families to channel to those persons who have made us suffer the energy of love and protection, so that their hearts will be able to receive the nectar of love and blossom like a flower. I pray that they can be transformed to experience the joy of living, so that they will not continue to make themselves and others suffer. I see their suffering and do not want to hold any feelings of hatred or anger in myself toward them. I do not want them to suffer. I channel my energy of love and understanding to them and ask all my ancestors to help them." 

Thich Nhat Hahn


The Mission of the Kansas Chapter of Family Farm Defenders is to spark a collective awakening of the need to transform our food and agriculture systems to truly democratic, healthy, just, fair and sustainable systems where the people have supreme control over their food and agriculture by promoting the Cuban Sustainable Agriculture Movement as a model of the possible sustainable food system and by hosting our Radio Program: Food Fight! Waging Love!. 

These systems will create livelihoods with dignity for farmers, food and farm-workers alike. They will ensure sufficient amounts of healthy, nutritious, culturally appropriate food for all.   

This is food sovereignty.

Local2Global envisions the world’s diverse communities, working together to build just, strong and authentic relationships, moving from individualism to community-centeredness, walking our talk and being the values in which we say we believe: peace, love, justice, child-centered, youth leadership, female equality, supporting healthy families and communities  and sustainability.

Local2Global seeks to spark this collective awakening  by promoting the Cuban Sustainable Agriculture Movement as a model of the possible sustainable food system through our Social Media websites, local to global networks through internet and social media, blog, and radio show, Food Fight! Waging Love!.

Our Projects:

Peace and Healing: Love in Action

The need for peace and healing, a prerequisite to food sovereignty, cries out. Social peace is the fifth principle of food sovereignty. This project lifts-up and incorporates the vision and strategies of peacemaking as outlined by the world's greatest peacemakers into the food movement through our blog, radio show, social media sites and talks. Our work envisions the Food Movement through Thich Nhat Hahn, global peace leader in the Zen Buddhist Tradition, peace in oneself, peace in the world vision and by incorporating Ghandi's nonviolent principles for social change.

The need for healing is  clear as well. Food Fight! Love in Action blog will share the healing strategies of global peace activists, and especially activists themselves so that they can "be peace""be food sovereignty."

There can be no food sovereignty without peace.

Food Fight!Waging Love! Radio Program 

Food Fight! Love in Action Blog

Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba

Local2Global is guided and supported by the work of many numerous and beautiful community centered projects such as:   

Plum Village, the work of global peace leader, Thich Nhat Hahn, and his Zen Buddhist communities,; 

Siglo XXIII, International Institute for Cooperation Amongst Peoples, the work of  El Salvadoran Peace Leader Marta Benavides, nominated for a Nobel;  

the Cuban Sustainable Agriculture Movement which won the Right Livelihood Award in 1999, known as “the Second Nobel; 

the Zapatista Movement in Chiapis, Mexico, 

Family Farm Defenders, a wonderful award-winning grassroots organization of dairy farmers founded by compassionate and visionary dairy farmer, John Kinsman,   and

the Praxis Project, a US based  nonprofit movement support intermediary and an institution of color that supports organizing and change work at US local, regional and national levels.

What is Food Sovereignty?

Food Sovereignty is the aspiration of billions of human beings to have the truly democratic, just, sustainable and supreme control over their food and agriculture and to have a natural and harmonious relationship with nature and each other. This doctrine or manifesto is often credited to the International Peasant's Movement, La Via Campesina.

 My research, has shown however, that its origin, including use of the phrase, food sovereignty, lies in the indigenous communities of human society, including North American indigenous communities. (Interview with Robert Frio of Victoria Island, Canada at the La Via Campesina People's Forum on Climate Change, Cancun Mexico, UN Climate Change Forum, December 2010. ) 

Via Campesina says that it launched the idea of “Food Sovereignty” at the World Food Summit in 1996. This idea has now grown into a global people's movement carried by a large diversity of social sectors such as the urban poor, environmental and consumer groups, women associations, fisher-folks, pastoralists and many others. It is also recognized by several institutions and governments.

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through sustainable methods and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It develops a model of small scale sustainable production benefiting communities and their environment. It puts the aspirations, needs and livelihoods of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.

Food sovereignty prioritizes local food production and consumption. It gives a country the right to protect its local producers from cheap imports and to control production. It ensures that the rights to use and manage lands, territories, water, seeds, livestock and biodiversity are in the hands of those who produce food and not of the corporate sector. Therefore the implementation of genuine agrarian reform is one of the top priorities of the farmer's movement.

Food sovereignty now appears as one of the most powerful response to the current food, poverty and climate crises.

International Peasant's Movement Seven Principles of Food Sovereignty (taken from Family Farm Defenders

•Food: A Basic Human Right.
Healthy, Nutritious, Culturally Appropriate Food is a basic human right guaranteed by all societies to their members regardless of ability to pay but as the necessary sustenance for life. Food is foremost a source of human life and energy, not a commodity to be traded for accumulating of wealth, profit and power.

• Agrarian reform.
Agrarian reform guaranteeing all people, regardless of nationality, gender, race, ethnicity, religion and class access to land, credit, training, information, and technology and a life with dignity.

• Fair Trade.
Societies must recognize food first as a necessity for life rather than an item of wealth through trade for some. Societies must prioritize food production for domestic consumptions as a source of life over a good to be traded for money. Food imports must not displace local production nor depress prices.

• End Corporate Domination.
End corporate domination of our food and agriculture from what we eat to what we grow and to how we grow it.

• Social Justice and Peace.
Food and agriculture must not be used as a weapon or tool for exploitation and oppression of the people.

• Democratic control.
Peasants, small farmers and all of us must have truly democratic power over our own societies’ food and agriculture.

• In Harmony with Nature.
Food sovereignty envisions an ecological agriculture in harmony with nature which cherishes and sustains our earth and ecosystems. Genetic material in seeds and livestock breeds are used wisely and with respect for the generations of indigenous peoples who developed them. We farm and eat in harmony with urn earth and its ecosystems, preserving its resources, land, water, seeds and livestock breeds, and soil. 

                                  WHO WE ARE
KC Food Justice Fall 2011 Fundraiser, KC,MO.

Maria Whittaker, Program Director

Maria practiced poverty and civil rights law and taught law before falling in love with agroecology and the sustainable agriculture movement. She combined her background as an advocate with her passion for  agroecology and her  passion for justice to found Local2Global Advocates for Food Sovereignty in 2011.

She graduated from Harvard University and University of Chicago Law School. She speaks English, French, and Spanish. She has participated in two global movements for food sovereignty: joining the La Via Campesina caravan for life and environmental and social justice in Mexico in 2010 and the TransAfrican Climate Caravan of Hope in 2011. She was chosen for a Bold Food Fellowship in 2011
by Growing Power.

Kathryn Gilje—Consultant on Strategy and Fundraising Kathryn Gilje is Executive Director of the Ceres Trust and lead consultant for Strategic Currents, LLC. Kathryn previously was director and co-director of the Pesticide Action Network North America. Kathryn co-founded and co-directed Centro Campesino, a membership organization of migrant agricultural workers, rural Latino/as and allies in southern Minnesota. She was senior associate with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, focused on marketing sustainable agriculture and U.S. farm policy. She spent several years on small farms in Minnesota, raising chickens, milking goats and promoting access to healthy, local and fair food. Now, she raises bees and vegetables in Oakland, California. Her training comes from the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, Farm Labor Organizing Committee and through Hispanics in Philanthropy at the Kellogg School of Management. She studied agronomy and environmental science at the University of Minnesota.

Otto Manuel Anderez, Cuban liaison. Reseracher INIFAT, Cuba's Intensive Urban and Sustainable Agriculture Organization.

Emilio Andres, Cuban Liaison, Researcher, ACTAF, Cuban Sustainable Agriculture Organization.

Donna Morrow Wolfe, Food Fight! Waging Love! Community Radio Program Host.

Donna is a longtime Kansas City Community Activist and the host of Kansas City Community Radio KKFI 90.1 Community affairs Urban Connections program. 

Ryan Tenney, Artist.   


Maria Whittaker, Program Director
Tel: 913 945 1333
Mailing Address: 7001 Seaview Avenue, Suite 160-648, Seattle, WA

Local2Global Advocates For Food Sovereignty               Advocates-for-Justice/167704669946634 

KC Food Justice 

Food Fight! Waging Love! Community Radio Program

Sustainable Agriculture In Cuba

Black Food Sovereignty

African Food Sovereignty

                                                      Organizational Status

Local2Global Advocates for Food Sovereignty (L2GAFS)  is the Kansas Chapter of Family Farm Defenders (FFD), dba L2GAFS and has 501(c)(3) status through its chapter affiliation with FFD.

L2GAFS is registered as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Kansas.  Family Farm Defenders is  a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation based in Madison, WI. 

                              BOARD MEMBERS

Alonzo Samuels
Humphrey Omukuti
Brianna Perril

Aba Ifoema,
Gina Giazzoni
Andre Mathews

Willard Tillman 
Rhonda Janke
Sonja Robinson, RN
Charity Hicks, In Memoriam

                                         ADVISORY BOARD
  • Catherine Murphy, Filmmaker, Maestria
  • Pamela Montanero, Coordinator, Eco Cuba Network
  • Marta Benavides, Founder, Siglo XXIII, International Institute for Cooperation Amongst Peoples
  • Matt Quinn, IT Director KC Harvesters

  • Dr. Ife Kilimanjaro, Development Director, Eastern Michigan Environmental Action Council

  • Malik Yakini, ED Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
  • Monica White, President, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

  Martha Benavides

Rev. Marta Benavides (born in San Salvador, El Salvador) is a theologian, ordained minister, permaculturist, educator, and artist.  She is one of the last surviving activists from the original group of human rights and peace advocates who began their work during the 1970s and in a rising climate of repression. A leader of an ecumenical revolution focused on bringing peace to her country, the ordained pastor who chose “to live and not die for the revolution” has been bringing people from all fields to defend human rights and develop a culture of peace. In the early 1980s, Benavides was head of the Ecumenical Committee for Humanitarian Aid, a group sponsored by the Archbishop Óscar Romero to provide support to the victims of violence. After Romero’s assassination in 1980, she continued to work for durable peace, in 1982 Benavides went into exile and worked for the next decade from Mexico and the United States to bring an end to the war in her country, and achieve a negotiated settlement under the UN.

In 1991 a year before the peace accords were signed, Benavides returned home and founded the International Institute for Cooperation Amongst Peoples, which promotes the values and practices of a culture of peace. She established community training centers and travels throughout the country conducting workshops on sustainable agriculture, human rights, the prevention of community and family violence. She has founded the Siglo XXIII, the 23rd Century Movement for Sustainable Peace which works for social transformation through culture.

In 2003, she was one of 33 Laureates of the Women's World Summit Foundation Prize for Women's Creativity in Rural Life. In 2005 she was among the 1,000 women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2009, she was awarded the Woman Peacemaker Prize from the Institute of Joan B. Kroc for Peace and Justice in the University of San Diego, California. She is one of the co-chairs of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) and sits on various boards at the international level. She continues to work for a culture of peace in her country and the world, through various initiatives at the UN and with civil society movements.

Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales        en Agricultura Tropical “Alejandro de Humboldt” (INIFAT)

Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez de la Naturaleza y

 el Hombre.

Universidad Agraria de La Habana,

Toronto Afri-Can Food Basket

Family Farm Defenders 
Rural Coalition
National Latino Ranchers and Farmers Association
The Praxis Project
Toronto Afri-Can Food Basket
Eastern Michigan Environmental Action Council
Kellogg Foundation
National Family Farm Coalition

Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

Local Kansas City MORE2
Jobs with Justice
Lincoln University
Black Health Care Coalition Growing Food and Justice 
Black Urban Gardeners Initiative
Baha'i Community of Greater Kansas City
Kansas City MO Public Library
Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
Urban League of Greater Kansas City
Kansas City Black United Front
Kansas City Jobs with Justice
Kansas City IWW 
Johnson County Community College
Communities Creating Opportunities
Cross Border Network
Cultivate KC

Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
The Christopher Reynolds Foundation
The Baha'i Community of Kansas City
US State Department
Growing Power
USA Community Food Security Coalition
Kellogg Foundation
The Praxis Project
The Rural Coalition
The Niles Home for Children
The Health Care Coalition of Kansas City
University of Michigan

Private Individuals
Celeste Michelson
Ken and Loree Gross
Barbara McAtee
Martina Whittaker
Ubaldo Soto

Tax deductible donations for Local2Global Advocates for Food Sovereignty can be made to the Kansas Chapter of Family Farm Defenders, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation doing business as Local2Global Advocates for Food Sovereignty.   They can be mailed to the University of Michigan Credit Union,P.O. Box7850, AnnArbor, MI 48107-7850.

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