Food sovereignty

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Definition :

Food sovereignty is the right for people to decide about their own strategies and policies to guarantee their food safety while considering the effects on others. Through food choices as well as agricultural or trade policies, it guarantees access to healthy and sustainable food. It is a global concept within which social aspects, economy, politics and the environment are closely intertwined.

Originating from alter-globalization movements such as Via Campesina, the concept of food sovereignty has taken off since the 1990s. According to Olivier de Schutter, former United Nation-special spokesman for the right to food, a consensus now exists “on the fact that each country must be helped to feed itself, and that the question of food cannot be resolved by concentrating production in the most efficient regions nor help and trade.”

More than a production system, it is also a social system that puts food back at the center of our society’s concerns. Highly political, this idea supposes to adapt to each population, with its own environment and cultural past. Food sovereignty also includes environmental preservation for future generations.

In terms of ways of action, according to Miguel Altieri, professor of agroecology, food sovereignty has to be based on agroecology, which can ensure food security while preserving natural resources and biodiversity. On the other hand, the fact of being independent towards global international agribusiness is a way to foster the diversity of local productions. The returning to small farms, family and peasant farming is a powerful lever for food sovereignty. This list is non-exhaustive, and differs depending on the actors and their social and political aspirations.

Published on 30 January 2020

Bibliographic references :

Altieri A. 2004. Linking Ecologists and Traditional Farmers in the Search for Sustainable Agriculture. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2(1), pp 35-42.

Denevan M. 1995. Prehistoric Agricultural Methods as Models for Sustainability. In Advanced Plant Pathology, J.H. Andrews; Tommerup, I. (eds). Vol 11, pp 21-43. Academic press.

Gliessman S. R. 1998. Agroecology: Ecological Process in Sustainable Agriculture. CRC Press LLC. 347p.

Gordillo G., Obed Méndez J. 2013. Food security and sovereignty. FAO, 41p.

Pimbert Michel. 2017. Food Sovereignty Agroecology & Biocultural Diversity. Taylor & Francis Ltd, 338p. ISBN 9781138955363

To quote this definition or part of it :
Elienay Dutra, Jean Blancheteau, Amélie Gonçalves. 2020. Food sovereignty : Definition. Dictionnaire d'Agroecologie, https://dicoagroecologie.fr/en/encyclopedia/food-sovereignty/

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