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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Phil Woodhouse, of the University of Manchester, discusses the relationship between consumers and producers of food. He highlights key tensions around the price of food, arguing that the productivity of agricultural labour is fundamentally related to the price of food and asks, “how does Food Sovereignty address the issue of the price of food and the potential conflict between producers and consumers?”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An inspiring story of how women in a poor neighbourhood of Cochabamba, Bolivia used partnership and collaboration to provide water services when state, local governments and the private sector failed to deliver.