Impression of the Dutch delegation at the Nyéléni Europe Forum 2016 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Over 500 people from all over Europe gathered there at the end of October for five days to lay the groundwork to take back, relocalise our food systems and multiply food sovereignty platforms across the continent.
In the industrial or corporate food regime, hunger is a staple commodity. Agrarian and food justice movements have come a long way in building an alternative system, but there are still many challenges.
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.
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.
Elizabeth Mpofu, General Coordinator of La Via Campesina, shares the perspective of global peasants. She emphasizes that peasants are an organized movement, not merely resisting but working to build a new world through the idea of Food Sovereignty and opens the floor for dialogue between the peasants of the world and academics and activists committed to solidarity with them.
Blain Snipstal, returning generation peasant farmer and leader in La Via Campesina North America discusses the need to engage emotionally with Food Sovereignty, as part of a movement for re-peasantization and revalorizing marginalized knowledge, not merely as an abstract intellectual concept.
Martha Jane Robbins offers feedback on key papers, including Kloppenberg and Bernstein’s, from the perspective of La Via Campesina, drawing attention to the deliberate political usage of terms like “Food Sovereignty” and “peasant” as framing concepts for political organizing.
Mamadou Goita, of ROPPA , the West African Farmers Alliance, highlights the need for an interdisciplinary approach to Food Sovereignty that takes seriously political and practical, as well as conceptual, aspects of the term.
Tania Li, of the University of Toronto, asks about communities who do not see themselves as part of the Food Sovereignty movement. She uses the case of a community in Central Sulawesi to highlight how the core elements of Food Sovereignty do not necessarily cohere together, and argues for the importance of addressing these kinds of places, that challenge embedded assumptions of the movement.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.