On June 24th I was fortunate to be a part of a small group of Development and Peace members that camped out at Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville Ontario.
This year Development and Peace’s campaign revolved around urging our Prime Minister to put Food Sovereignty on the G8 agenda. I have spent much of my time as a volunteer member with D&P, educating youth throughout central Ontario on the injustices surrounding small scale farmers in the global south. For me this was a chance to not just speak about the injustices but to take a stand. As the cliché goes, I was able to practice what I preach.
Participating for my first time as an activist and being a voice for 1.02 billion voiceless who go hungry every day is a feeling that can’t be described. I have always been taught that it is equally unjust to know and do nothing as it is to commit an injustice itself. As citizens in a democratic society we are asking our government to take action and increase support for small scale farming, the poorest profession in the world.
Our plan for the few days we had committed to being present in Huntsville was to find a creative way to get our message across to those who chose to listen.
As a group we created a piece of street theater relating to the world cup. We were filmed by an OPP officer in the public demonstration area who was responsible for having footage sent to the G8 summit. The concept of the world cup match was between small scale farmers and the G8 Industrial Agricultural Machine (IAM).
The small farmers had a tough go of it – they were fouled constantly without benefit of referee intervention. This action was an excellent depiction of reality for many current small scale farmers both in the Global South and even locally here in Canada.
In the heart of Huntsville we were blessed to participate in mass presided by Fr. Bob Holmes. Incorporating the sacrament of the Eucharist into our peaceful demonstration was an experience I will never forget.
My time in Huntsville has left me with an overwhelming sense of hope that change is possible and will undoubtedly occur as we as Canadian citizens continue to work in solidarity with the oppressed throughout the Global South.
- Daniel Schultheiss