Brazil's "green revolution," Hammel explained, began in the 1960s, when "capitalism in the form of industrial farming took over agriculture." "The military used to say that Brazil was late in coming to industrial farming, which really took off in the 1970s," she said.Under military rule, she said, the government forced farmers to use machines and chemicals for which they were unprepared and that they couldn't afford; banks foreclosed on the land when the families couldn't afford to pay. They grew grains, soybeans and corn, and milked cows and raised pigs for family consumption and to sell.
"Discovering the commonality in our fight for the rights of the indigenous in Brazil and in the United States; the fight for the rights of unemployed and landless farm workers, the homeless and the poor in North and South America; and the global fight for food sovereignty has brought us shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart," said Michael Tedrick, an Episcopal Church-appointed missionary from the California diocese who facilitates the companion relationship. And through sharing our stories, we begin to obscure the economic, political, social and ideological borders that divide us," he added."To further that effort in 2012, we are planning a young adult exchange focused on human rights and eco-justice." Life in the movement Along the two-lane rural highways through the southern state of Paraná, soybean plantations, which look like well-manicured green carpets, stretch beyond the horizon. Agriculture, driven heavily by agribusiness, accounts for 25 percent of the country's gross domestic product, and is a key factor in its economic growth."Farmers all over Brazil break this law, but the government is trying to strengthen the law.And large farms and commercial farms and companies are fighting with the government to weaken the law." "Agrarian reform is not only the concern of those who camp, it is also the concern of people like the 'reverendo' in urban areas," he said."When we arrived here, this area was owned by the government and a communications company," da Luz said through an interpreter.
"In the beginning all 10 families camped and huddled together." Families unite with other families, beginning by forming debate groups, where farmers find common opinion and a common cause to fight for, explained Hammel. "The community is the foundation of everything." Each community, da Luz added, has its own principles and policies to which everyone has agreed, and sometimes even family "fights" are taken to the community.Keno's national position gained him respect in Cascavel and Paraná and throughout the nation; because of his actions, his death became "imminent," Gabas said.Keno and other leaders, he said, participated in a "takeover" of Syngenta, a Swiss global agrochemical company that does genomic research and markets seeds and pesticides.He exudes a quiet and gentle nature, which has served him well as he has suffered harassment and threats because of his advocacy."I have always acted with social work, not only here, but also in São Paolo," Gabas, a former Roman Catholic priest, said in Portuguese through an interpreter during an interview in Cascavel in May."[It is] not only I, as the 'reverendo,' but others in the church have also started to get involved in social action." More recently, the diocese created Pastoral Anglicana da Terra, or Earthly Anglican Care, as a way for individuals, parishes and the diocese to address land reform, climate justice and the rights of indigenous people, peasants and the landless.