Last week’s blog, “The Future of Food; Dealing with Collapse,” elicited a lot of comments. A few of them reminded me that if we are going to address the global food crisis, we must listen to the people who do most of the work growing food. We must hear from the peasants, farm workers, and small landholders who grow 50% of the food on the planet.
Without their voice, policy makers responding to the food crisis, will continue to invest in the same industrial model for growing food that is the root cause of the problem.
If we care about sustainable food and farming, we must work for Food Sovereignty.
According to La Via Campesina, “Food Sovereignty is the right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture.” One of the “raps” against sustainable agriculture is that while we talk about Social Equity as one of the three principles of sustainability, most of our efforts focus on Environmental Integrity and Economic Vitality. Food Sovereignty provides a framework to make sure we maintain a focus on justice!
Food Sovereignty is about solutions!
La Via Campesina is a global movement of peasant farmers and workers. In 1996, they introduced the concept of Food Sovereignty at the World Food Summit in Rome, and since then the principle of Food Sovereignty has been adopted by many organizations.
This movement which brings together the environmental, economic and social aspects of food production was created to serve the needs of small and medium-size farmers, migrant workers, the landless, women farmers, and indigenous peoples from all over the world. These are the same people who are most likely use agroecological principles to grow food in a way that builds rather than degenerates natural resources.
A recent United Nations study claims that small farmers, using agroecological techniques, can double food production in 10 years. These techniques are supported by the International Peasants Movement, La Via Campesina, which claims that peasants can feed the world.
According to Via Campesina “food sovereignty prioritizes local food production and consumption. It gives a country the right to protect its local producers from cheap imports and to control production. It ensures that the rights to use and manage lands, territories, water, seeds, livestock and biodiversity are in the hands of those who produce food and not of the corporate sector. Therefore the implementation of genuine agrarian reform is one of the top priorities of the farmer’s movement.”
This global movement however, is not only relevant in developing countries. Last week, a town in Maine passed the first Food Sovereignty law in the U.S. I encourage you to learn more about this movement and to support one of the 148 member organizations in 69 countries working for Food Sovereignty. And join the millions of small farmers and workers around the world on April 17, 2011 to celebrate the struggle of peasants and rural people to survive and continue feeding the world.
To learn more, go to April 17, 2011 – International Day of Peasant’s Struggles.
I’d appreciate it if you would share this post with your friends. And for more ideas, videos and challenges along these lines, please join my Facebook Group; Just Food Now. And go here for more of my World.edu posts.