James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology at Yale University opens the Yale conference with a skeptical critique of the concept of "food sovereignty," posing challenging questions about nation states, population growth, and dietary habits.
Todd Holmes asks how to go forward from here, how to balance “the politics of the possible” with “the politics of the practical,” and how to historicize our understanding of the global food system and its alternatives.
Phil McMichael, Professor of Development Sociology at Cornell, discusses the attitude towards nature, people, and production that animates many different strains of the food sovereignty movement, in opposition to the current dominant food regime.
Peter Rosset introduces the internal processes within Via Campesina, addressing how it holds together and moves forward as a movement, given the huge diversity of its membership, and emphasizing the significance of dialogue between different kinds of knowledge.
Maryam Rahmanian discusses the significance and the challenges of international alliance-building, presenting examples from the work of the International Planning Committee on Food Security. She asks, what does it mean to build alliances well, and how can we do it?
Mark Bomford attempts to build bridges, connecting the dialogue from the conference to communities of practice, and addressing the opportunity that institutions like Yale provide for the Food Sovereignty movement to engage with global elites.
Marc Edelman offers some provocations, interrogating the origin stories of the term “Food Sovereignty,” questioning the orthodox reading of the relationship between Food Sovereignty and Food Security, and raising concrete questions about what a food sovereign society would look like.
Kathy Ozer, of the National Family Farm Coalition, highlights key initiatives from the Coalition and other groups, and the interaction between national, local, and global movements for Food Sovereignty.
Jennifer Clapp, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability at Waterloo, discusses the financialization of food, arguing that financialization has undergone a critical increase in complexity and scale in the last two decades, which has major implications for the Food Sovereignty movement.
Eric Holtz-Gimenez, Director of Food First, the Institute for Development of Food Policy, elaborates the presence of multiple actors in the movement to transform the food system and asks what the future is for academics in the food sovereignty movement.
Bob St Peter, farmer and seasonal farm worker from Maine, and founding member of Food For Maine, discusses the historical inequalities between the country and the city and the role that the Food Sovereignty movement can play in creating a more equitable future.
Henry Bernstein critiques the Food Sovereignty literature’s reliance on “emblematic instances,” interrogating the extent to which these instances actually represent a fundamentally different type of production than entrepreneurial capitalist agriculture.
Jack Kloppenburg, Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin Madison introduces the concept of Seed Sovereignty and the Open Source Seed Initiative, and highlights the role of participatory plant breeding in utilizing the creativity of farmers.
Harriet Friedmann highlights the tension between consumer needs for affordable food and producer needs for sustainable livelihoods, and explores the re-embedding of markets in biosocial context and the transformation of institutions as ways out of this conflict.
Jan Douwe van der Ploeg highlights the centrality of peasant agriculture to Food Sovereignty and tackles the question of whether peasant production can feed a global population of 9-10 billion. He draws on Chayanov’s agrarian economics to illuminate strengths and possibilities of peasant agriculture.
Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, discusses the 20 year history of the Food Sovereignty movement. Behind the diversity of grassroots initiatives that make up the second generation of food sovereignty activism there is a deep convergence in ideals and a shared analysis of the problems with and alternatives to the current dominant global food system.
Paul Nicholson, farmer from the Basque Country and founding member of La Via Campesina, highlights challenges for the movement today, stressing that LVC is not a static entity or an academic concept, but a bottom-up, dynamic, diverse movement, and an evolving alternative vision of life being presented by peasants to the rest of society.
Bina Agarawal discusses potential contradictions between key elements of food sovereignty, efforts to achieve global food security, and the importance of democratic choice by farmers, using case studies to highlight ways in which farmers’ democratic choice may come into conflict with other aspects of Food Sovereignty’s vision.
Teodor Shanin, president of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and Professor Emeritus at the University of Manchester discusses the significance of a historical perspective for understanding the global peasants’ movement La Via Campesina.