Food Sovereignty

the right of people to define and control their own food systems

Food Sovereignty - the food sovereignty movement

Food sovereignty is a term describing the right of people to define and control their own food systems. Food sovereignty advocates people be at the center of all aspects of food production and distribution, rather than being determined by corporations and market manipulation. The idea of food sovereignty began with a local farmer from Europe, in 1996, that has grown to become a worldwide organization. Food sovereignty members include many farmers, indigenous peoples, peasants, environmental organizations and ordinary men and women who share an interest in the importance of food in building sustainable communities. Food sovereignty goes against the corporate desires of many multinationals that would like nothing better than to control a particular food commodity or a country's food supply. The negative effects of the push by multinationals to control the world’s food supply have resulted in a few countries beginning to fight back and declare sovereignty over their food interests. In 2009, Ecuador became the first country to embrace food sovereignty within its own constitution. Further, the Ecuador government has banned the import of genetically modified seeds and foods and is actively discouraging monoculture. Since then, five more countries have followed suit, Nepal, Senegal, Bolivia and Venezuela with Peru joining the cause as recently as 2012.

The encouragement of the development of more earth friendly farming practices has led to a move away from dependence on multinational corporations for the production and distribution of food. As a result, many of the countries that have adopted food sovereignty principles have become self-sufficient in the production of important staple crops and vegetables for the first time in their history.

The Food Sovereignty Movement In Europe

The growing movement towards food sovereignty is gaining momentum as more and more farmers create local cooperatives to grow and market their own produce without the approval of the governing bodies that would normally regulate them.

The growing impossibility of a dignified livelihood in the European countryside has provoked a widespread response on the part of Europeans unwilling to sacrifice their society and environment to corporate greed. Farmer's unions, environmental organizations, consumer groups, fair trade organizations, and economic solidarity networks, among many others, have begun to work throughout Europe to denounce the impact of the EU’s agricultural policies and call for alternatives.

Activists in Europe are beginning to coordinate action strategies in favor of food sovereignty at the local, national, and continental levels. As these networks bring in new players, they gather strength. The task is not easy, but food sovereignty movements and anti-globalization movements are steadily building momentum.