Reports & Briefings
This article documents the rise of finance in food provisioning. It queries the role of financialization in the contemporary food crisis and analyzes its impacts upon power structures and the distribution of wealth within and along the agro-food supply chain.
Once the poster child for free trade, Mexico is now better known for its failures, among them the loss of the country’s food sovereignty. Rising agricultural prices, combined with growing import dependence, have driven Mexico’s food import bill over $20 billion per year and increased its agricultural trade deficit.
With the rapid expansion of gold mining, social movements in many countries have gathered force to oppose the mining. Environmental concerns have been central to this opposition. But the opposition has grown into a larger critique of “what is development?” posing corporate-led export growth against peasant-led local agriculture.
The paper considers food sovereignty as an aspiration, or value, held by various social movements (first and most notably La Vía Campesina [LVC]) and food producing communities, to control or determine the shape of all aspects of their food system.
To historicize food sovereignty is to situate it: first, as a strategic countermovement in/of the food regime; and second, by historicizing the food regime itself to identify the shifting terrain of food sovereignty politics.
This paper explores how recent Mexican food policies have spurred the growth of three large transnational food corporations while at the same time leaving more than 20 million Mexicans in nutritional poverty with little access to their traditional staples and ways of life.
Around the world, rural social movements and urban food activist-citizens have proposed that food sovereignty has the potential to be the foundation of an alternative food system that can transcend the deep-seated social, economic and ecological contradictions of the global food economy.
This paper draws on ethnographic research conducted in the Central Coast of California and the Northern Neck of Virginia, where a significant number of Mexican farmworkers are in the process of transitioning to small-scale family-run farm owner/operators, despite race and ethnicity based discrimination.
The vision of food sovereignty calls for radical changes in “agricultural, political and social systems related to food”. These changes also entail addressing inequalities and asymmetries of power in gender relations.
In this conference paper, I consider some of the strengths and weaknesses of the food sovereignty (FS) approach based on my research among anti-GM activists in Colombia and Mexico.