Food sovereignty, is the right to food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and the right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts those who produce, distribute, and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than profit-driven markets.
Unfortunately, in spite of compelling scientific evidence that agroecological farming has the potential to address hunger, poverty, and climate change, U.S. trade, farm commodity subsidies, and foreign policy support corporate-controlled agriculture.
Industrial agriculture includes a multitude of environmentally harmful practices, including monoculture, with its associated loss of biodiversity, and the undermining of the ability of small farmers both here and around the world to thrive. Although small farms still produce most of the planet’s food, many U.S. farmers have been driven into debt and off their land. In the Global South, small-scale farmers not only lose their farms, but often wind up in urban slums with no employment opportunities as corporate profits increase.
Today, there are over 1 billion hungry people worldwide. Here in the U.S., the urban and rural poor who are disproportionately people of color, have difficulty accessing healthy, locally grown food. In addition, a major source of back-breaking agricultural labor is supplied by exploited, undocumented immigrants.
It doesn’t have to be this way. One of many ways to take back our food system is to advocate for a better Farm Bill in 2012!
More Food for Thought
In Defense of Food Sovereignty: Stop Water Grabbing! Declaration of La Via Campesina in the Alternative World Water Forum (March 22, 2012)
Women Farmers Feed the World (Christa Hillstrom, YES Magazine, October 22, 2011), In West Africa, women’s resistance to the new Green Revolution shows that the question of agricultural sustainability is also a question of equality.
Food sovereignty: Can we feed ourselves? Some say ‘yes, local communities need to take control of what they eat’ (John Colson, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, July 24, 2011)
Food Sovereignty Now! (August, 2011) The international peasant’s movement La Via Campesina is launching a new video presenting its struggle for small farmer and peasant agriculture and food sovereignty all around the world.
African Small Farmers Declaration–La Via Campesina (Shashe Declaration Africa Region 1 of La Via Campesina, Masvingo, Zimbawe, 12-20 June 2011)
El Salvadoran Government & Social Movements Say No to Monsanto (Carlos Martinez, Upside Down World, May 27, 2011)
Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy There are many publications on this site about food sovereignty.
Download Food for Thought and Action: A Food Sovereignty Curriculum (Grass Roots International, 2010)
Food Sovereignty and Trade (La Via Campesina, 2010)
The Principles of Food Sovereignty (Yash Tandon, Pambazuka News, 2008)
Farm Bill and Local Food: Food Sovereignty for U.S. Consumers (Food & Water Watch, 2007)
The Green Revolution: A Blessed Welcome or Cursed Method. In this mp3 radio story, UW student Deni Proto outlines the history of the green revolution in Africa and how the current green revolution, promoted by the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), can be understood in a historical context. (8:19 min, 8.0 mb)