What Is Food Sovereignty?
Food Sovereignty is the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture systems. It calls for a governance and distribution system imbedded in communities and environmental sustainability. It ensures the health, cultural, political and economic needs of a community are securely met. It does not negate trade, but rather puts the needs of the community first.
Food sovereignty promotes community-based agriculture and fishing, local control over policies, protection of biodiversity and native seeds, land reform, and access to the sea. This political and economic paradigm offers an alternative to the industrial food production and free trade models that are destroying local communities. Food sovereignty was first brought to light in 1996 by the global peasant network La Via Campesina.
Although food sovereignty is being actualized in fishing and farming communities through the United States, the term, itself, is not yet widely recognized. The concept of food sovereignty takes different forms and is described in different ways. Organic farmers may call it sustainable agriculture. Community supported fisheries may call it food justice; urban farmers may call it food security. Food Sovereignty is a food system model that combines all these approaches.
In the United States, food sovereignty is most visible through the growing local food movement. Furthering awareness of this important concept in the U.S. may lead to a deepening collaboration with food movements around the world who already embrace and pursue food sovereignty.
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