whether Philippines' Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law becomes truly a vehicle for advancing reform will depend on whether pro-reform forces can create, at the local level, the critical political mass involving farmers, progressive elements at the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Church, and other groups that would overcome the rearguard actions of the landed class to delay the inevitable.
There are an estimated 500 million smallholder farms in the developing world which provide livelihoods for 2 billion people and produce about 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It is these small farmers who truly contribute to global food security.
The concept of food sovereignty has exploded in the agrarian studies literature over the past decade, the aim of this critical dialogue was to explore whether or not the subject of food sovereignty has any intellectual future in critical agrarian studies, and if so, on what terms.
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.
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.
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.
Bridget O’Laughlin, former professor of development studies at ISS and an editor of the Journal of Development and Change, suggests that Food Sovereignty cannot be an analytical framework, and that that is not a problem. She offers a vision of the role of intellectuals within the movement: addressing ambiguities, questioning assumptions, and identifying gaps that need research.
Sofia Monsalve discusses nutrition and gender, addressing the significance rights-based frameworks. At the same time she raises problems with the current international implementation of the right to adequate nutrition as it applies to girls and women and emphasizes the need to discuss issues like social policy, labour, and income.
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.
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.
Malik Yakini introduces the audience to the current situation in Detroit and his organization’s work building capacity, community empowerment, and democracy through a variety of food programs. He also emphasizes the centrality of issues of race both in the broader context and within the Food Sovereignty movement.
Susan George gives a perspective on what has and has not changed in the global food movement in the last decades, drawing out universal themes while emphasizing the vital significance of new issues like the financialization of agricultural.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.