Monday, 21 November 2011

Occupy the food system: Building a vision of transformation

Eric Holt-Giménez and Annie Shattuck have written the following article in conjunction with the release of their new book:  Food Movements Unite!  

A dynamic global food movement is rising up around the world. Food justice activists are taking back their food systems through urban gardening, organic farming, community-supported agriculture, farmers’ markets, and locally owned processing and retail operations. Food sovereignty advocates organize for land reform, the end of destructive global-trade agreements and support for family farmers, women, and peasants. Protests against—and viable alternatives to—the expansion of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), agrofuels, land grabs, and the oligopolistic control of our food are growing everywhere every day, denouncing and replacing the dysfunctional corporate food regime with visions of hope, equity, and sustainability.

The social and political convergence of the “practitioners” and “advocates” in these food movements is well underway, as evidenced by the growing trend in food policy councils; the coalitions for food sovereignty spreading across the US, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe; and the practical and political solutions to the food crisis that appear increasingly in academic literature and the popular media.

The global food movement springs from strong commitments to food justice, food democracy, and food sovereignty on the part of thousands of farmers’ unions, consumer groups, nonprofits, and faithbased and community organizations across the urban-rural and North-South divides of our planet.

This remarkable “movement of movements” is widespread, highly diverse, refreshingly creative and— much like the “Occupy Wall Street” protests—busy forging a broad-based vision for transformation.

Many publications point to the hopeful initiatives in growing, processing, distributing, and
consuming. And many analyses are now identifying the structural barriers to a fair and sustainable political processes. Supporting farmers’ political leadership is echoed by Groundswell, a new rural development collective working in Haiti, Ecuador, Burkina Faso,
and Ghana. Groundswell calls for a shift from project and donor-driven strategies to farmer and movement driven approaches.

Farmers, Sustainability and Food Sovereignty

Family and peasant farmers—who produce over half of the world’s food—have embraced food
sovereignty as a political platform to roll back the corporate assault of our food and farming systems. Leaders like Paul Nicholson and João Pedro Stédile of Via Campesina call for alliances of transformative action and new structural policies for our food systems. George Naylor of
the National Family Farm Coalition links today’s calls for food sovereignty to the historic U.S. farm struggles asserting that, “Without clarity on parity, all you get is charity.”

Read the full article here

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