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Groups discuss food security for the 21st century and beyond

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SANTA FE, N.M. – The Native Earth Bio-Culture Council and the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Center for Lifelong Education will host the Fourth Annual Symposium for Sustainable Food and Seed Sovereignty from Sept. 25 – 26 at IAIA, 83 Avan Nu Po Road in Santa Fe.

The symposium will include internationally recognized speakers as well as regional and local experts in the areas of food security and sustainable ecology. It will also include panels on youth issues in the 21st century, food and nutrition, water issues, traditional farming, land restoration and medicinal herbs, as well as a heritage seed exchange. A light breakfast and full lunch will be served each day, and is included in the price of registration.

NEBCC is a consortium of like-minded organizations including the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Center for Lifelong Education, the Institute of Natural and Traditional Knowledge, the Pueblo of Tesuque Agricultural Program, the Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association and Tewa Women United. NEBCC was created to bring awareness to the prevalence, presence and threat of genetically modified food seeds and foods. This organization promotes healthy, traditional, sustainable methods of agriculture that exist as viable alternatives to the dangers of corporate agriculture.

In cooperation with the Native American communities of Northern New Mexico and their tradition of agriculture and self sufficiency, the NEBCC seeks to have people abandon their reliance on corporate agriculture and the consumerism lifestyle that surrounds them.

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Keynote speakers include author Jeffrey M. Smith and youth activist Erica Fernandez. Smith is a bestselling author and leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms. He first captured the public’s attention in 2003 with his books “Seeds of Deception” and “Genetic Roulette.”

Fernandez was roused into activism after she found out that a liquefied natural gas facility was proposed for the coast of Oxnard and Malibu, Calif. where a 36-inch pipeline was to be routed through low-income neighborhoods. She worked with the Sierra Club and Latino No to mobilize youth and Latino voices in protests and public meetings.

Members of the Guatemalan group Qachuu Aloom, a Maya-run organization in rural Guatemala that was created to rebuild communities in the aftermath of their 36-year civil war, will be giving a presentation on their work, offering a seed blessing and holding workshops. The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers will be present to offer seed blessings and exchanges, as well.

For further information on this event, including details on registration, vending space and program fees, visit www.foodandseedconference.info or call Emigdio Ballon at (505) 955-7723, Rick Vigil at (505) 955-7709 or Karen Fragua at (505) 424-2387.