From Other Worlds are Possible: http://www.otherworldsarepossible.org/other-worlds/food-sovereignty-think-globally-eat-locally
By Tory Field and Beverly Bell
The first group of protestors at Occupy Wall Street publically delivered 23 complaints, outlining the ways in which corporations control our daily lives. Number four asserted, “They have poisoned the food supply through negligence and undermined the farming system through monopolization.”
How we feed ourselves and each other is the backbone of how, historically, we have organized our communities and societies. The ways in which we arrange our agricultural systems make evident our larger worldviews. Food literally and figuratively connects us to each other, to our ancestors, to our cultures, and to the earth. Maybe all food should be acknowledged as soul food (with a low bow to Southern cooking) because it is, in fact, that deep.
A movement is afoot to put food, land, and agricultural systems back in the hands of citizens. One element has long been considered the overarching essential around the world, though it is only beginning to make an appearance in this U.S. This is food sovereignty, a combination of farming practices, marketing systems, and policy choices which together allow every people to make decisions about, produce, and consume its own local, healthy, and culturally appropriate food. Food sovereignty calls for the democratic participation of the population in shaping food and trade policies. It promotes the right of small growers to have control over their land and production, to grow for domestic consumption under local control. It also promotes ecological agriculture.
Food sovereignty is rooted in the daily work of every small farmer, rancher, fisherperson, landless farm worker, and everyone else involved in local food production. Yet no matter what they produce, their ability to survive is affected by international market forces. The movement, therefore, also includes community, national, and international activists working for just trade and economic systems. It promotes tariffs on food imports to protect local markets, and an end to international trade agreements and financial institutions that interfere with the sovereignty and sustainability of food systems.
The principles of food sovereignty challenge the neoliberal economic model – basically free-trade, corporate-driven, global capitalism – that governs food systems in much of the world. Agriculture in that model demotes government and community’s planning, investing in, or intervening in food and agricultural systems. Conversely, it promotes agribusiness corporations ability to invest wherever they like, favoring the import and export of large quantities of food across borders.
The neoliberal model assumes that a low- or middle-income nation’s best option is that of fitting into the economic position allotted to it by richer countries and financial institutions. If the American Midwest can grow massive amounts of corn, the rationale goes, then it should grow corn for the world, while Colombian farmers export coffee, Brazilian farmers bananas, and so on. Along with industrial-scale farming goes monocropping and massive inputs of fuel, fertilizers, and pesticides. Much more than large farmers, the primary beneficiaries are the corporate middle people who consolidate, arrange, package, and ship the food around the world.
Continue reading at: http://www.otherworldsarepossible.org/other-worlds/food-sovereignty-think-globally-eat-locally