Category Archives: Food Policy and Governance

Register Now for Food Agendas in a Post-Brexit Future Symposium #BSUFN17

Food Agendas in a Post-Brexit Future: BSUFN Annual Symposium 2017
Monday 6th of February 2017
9:00 – 17:20
Auditorium, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD
You can now register to attend the BSUFN Annual Symposium on the 6th of February 2017. Tickets cost £11.21. Buy tickets to attend here.
Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
During the symposium we will be using the hashtag #BSUFN17 so please join the conversation if you are on Twitter.

There has been much talk of the ways in which the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, or ‘Brexit’, will impact British farmers due to changes to the Common Agricultural Policy. We believe that Brexit will have far reaching effects across the food systems in many ways, in the UK, Europe and beyond. From policy implications for food safety standards and nutrition labels, to international trade and markets, to controls on chemical pesticides and the regulation of genetically modified (GM) organisms, and to diet and public health, and more.

To reflect current discussions about Brexit and its implications, the BSUFN Annual Symposium 2017 will consider food agendas in a post-Brexit future. This will reflect anticipated impacts of Brexit on the UK food system as well as implications for food agendas in other countries and regions of the world. Topics will explore the future of food in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, likely to be 2019, and more distant horizons.

The provisional programme for the symposium is available here: Provisional programme

Time Session
9:00-9:20 Registration, tea/coffee
9:20-9:30 Welcome
9:30-10:15 Provocations

Brexit Implications for Food Agendas

Chair: Rachael Taylor

Speakers to include: Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, The Linseed Farm, University of Brighton, and the Institute of Development Studies

10:15-11:15 Session 1 – Policy Dynamics

Chair: Abigail Wincott

Prof. Erik Millstone

The future of UK food & agricultural policies post-Brexit

Peter Senker

Post-Truth Politics and Food Poverty in the UK  after Brexit

11:15-11:45 Tea/coffee break
11:45-13:15 Session 2 – Panel Discussion – Learning from Global Discourses

Chair: Rachael Durrant

Three 15-minute presentations followed by 45 minutes of open discussion

Dipak Sarker

Use, History and Promises, Both True and Untrue, of Genetically-Modified (GM) Crops: Reflections Post-Brexit

Jennifer Constantine

Prospects for the Sustainable Development Goals in post-Brexit Britain: learning from Brazil’s experience with food and nutrition governance

Rachael Taylor

Finding the Future in the Past: Agroecology and Remnants of Colonialism in Senegal

13:15-14:15 Lunch
14:15-15:00 Future Food Agendas

Synergies for Policy, Practice and Research

Chair: Jennifer Constantine

15:00-16:00 Session 3 – Sustaining Farming through Brexit

Chair: Dipak Sarker

Adrian Ely

Transforming Food Systems in Brighton and Hove – Local Opportunities within a Changing Global Context

Helena Howe

Farming through Brexit

16:00-16:20 Tea/coffee break
16:20-17:20 Session 4 – Ecological Knowledge and Policy

Chair: TBC

Elise Wach

What scope for food sovereignty in a post-Brexit Future?

Jeremy Evans

A radical Regionalisation of fisheries quota for LIFE: developing new mechanisms of emancipatory fisheries governance

17:20 Close – move to Earth and Stars, 46 Windsor Street, Brighton, BN1 1RJ for a social evening

Questioning the Future of Food

Last month members of BSUFN took part in an event which explored the Future of Food. The event was held at the Science Museum, London, as part of the 50th birthday celebrations of the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex.

Members of the public were given the opportunity to interact with, and ask questions of, SPRU researchs and experts on four topics concerning the future of food. Conversations were held around four questions:

  1. How will Brexit impact UK farmers?
  2. Could we be growing more food underground?
  3. How can the UK government best respond to the rising obesity problem?
  4. What impact does our food system have on climate change?

Some of these questions raised contentious issues among the public who engaged in the debates. There were areas of agreement while on other issues people disagreed and had different opinions about priorities and the future.

BSUFN would like to continue this debate. If you have any thoughts, opinions or ideas about the above questions please leave them in the comments box below and we will build the ongoing discussion around these comments.

You can read more about the SPRU anniversary event at the Science Museum and other celebratory events here.

 

Jamie Oliver, heating up the debate at BSUFN16

By Abigail Wincott, University of Brighton

Jamie OliverThe BSUFN annual symposium yesterday was a lively one and there was a particularly heated discussion during our parallel session on ‘Consumers, Identity and Culture’.

My media colleague Gilly Smith and Jo Ralling from the Jamie Oliver Foundation talked about TV chefs, the changes they might effect in wider food culture and the materials and structures which accompany those changes. For example, Gilly mentioned new restaurants and a foodie tourist trade in Hungary, in part the product of a Hungarian version of Jamie Oliver. Jo talked up the successes of Jamie’s food campaigns in the UK, including the sugar tax and changes to school dinners.
A couple of people in the room took issue with their account, accusing Jamie-style cheftivism of unforgivable smugness and asking why Oliver doesn’t raise the issue of food poverty more often.

Others worried that these chefs’ campaigns tend to shame people, that lifestyle TV formats of problem-expert advice-redemption are inherently judgemental, assume lack of information is the reason for poor eating and don’t recognise the varied and individual circumstances people eat and cook in. The same might be said however for public health campaigning the world over…

To her credit Jo acknowledged she and the team at the JO Foundation were aware of these issues, discussed them and tried to produce programmes which took account of them. At all costs they wanted to avoid shaming she said.

Gilly argued people who make sweeping statements about foodie campaign TV tend not to have watched the half hour programmes, but only read the soundbites in news reports. These leave less room for nuance she argued.

This discussion about lifestyle TV activism is a really important one and we didn’t even scrape the surface on the day. It seems to me the question of form or format is key – Jo and Jamie and  Jo Ralling speaking at the symposiumother media producers are bound by generic conventions like the quest or the transformation. Commissioners need to show they are moving with ‘the next big thing’ and won’t always stick around to follow things up (a point Gilly made). Sound bites may get read more, but long form journalism and longer programmes do have the potential to be both entertaining and a bit judgemental but also so much more.

I think we should all be mindful that food debates of all kinds are mediated, and all are affected by the medium. Academic journal articles, conferences presentations and Q&As are no exception. Our discussion was at least as inadequate on the day as any news report – but it was, I hope, an important opener to a much longer conversation.

Policy Implications for Food Manufacturing – Part 2

BSUFN are currently hosting an informal series of discussions on the topic of ‘how much has food research changed in the past 40 years?‘ For each discussion a reading is suggested by one of BSUFN’s members. The second of the discussion groups will meet on Monday the 18th of January, from 12:30 to 14:00 at the University of Sussex, Fulton Building room 111.

The suggested reading for the upcoming discussion group is from: Joanna Blythman (2015) Swallow This: Serving up the food industry’s darkest secrets, Fourth Estate, London. Part I, Chapters 1 to 5 are recommended as reading to inform discussion, although the reading is not essential to join the discussion group, come along regardless of your background knowledge or prior preparation.

 

Peter Senker, one of BSUFN’s members and a member of the steering group, has prepared some notes based on his thoughts having read Joanna Blythman’s Swallow This. He presents a review of some key points about food manufacturing and processing from the book before making some suggestions for policy implications.

Peter’s thoughts are shared in two posts, the second of which is below. The first post (available here) reviewed the book and the goals of food manufacturers. The post below follows directly on from that so please read the previous post first if you haven’t already.

 

Some Notes on the Policy Implications following Review of Joanna Blythman’s Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets

Peter Senker

FOOD MANUFACTURERS’ STRATEGIES FOR SELLING HUGE QUANTITIES OF THEIR PRODUCTS

Packaged food manufacturers have three principal linked strategies for marketing the vast quantities of food they produce.

  1. They spend vast quantities of money promoting the taste and nutritional benefits of the food they produce through advertising in television, in the press, and through promotion in supermarkets, and more recently in social media.
  2. Scientific knowledge does not have much direct influence on markets for packaged foods. The principal influence of scientific knowledge (mainly about the nutritional and toxic qualities of food) is exerted through regulatory bodies set up by governments and international organisations. Food manufacturers and the organisations which represent them devote a lot of effort to securing representation on such bodies. They have been highly successful in influencing, and indeed dominating the deliberations and findings of such bodies, both in the UK and worldwide. For example, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was established in 2002 to ensure that foodstuffs regulations were harmonized throughout the European Union to ensure “free and unhindered competition”. EFSA’s President was also a member of the Board of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). ILSI’s 62 corporate members include Danone, Kellogg, Nestlé’s McDonald’s Europe, and Unilever. ILSI is entirely funded and operated by corporations and carries out numerous scientific studies for the EU on subjects such as consumer exposure to contaminants. (George, 2015, pages 40-45)
  3. Packaged food manufacturers are very aware that widespread public awareness of the details of their operations could damage their marketing and lobbying efforts. They try hard to conceal such details from the public –and from investigative journalists such as Joanna Blythman.

DISCUSSION

Food processing companies are generally very successful in complying with the principal requirements of the legislative framework within which they work – in particular the requirement to increase the revenues gained by their shareholders; and with the principal societal and economic norms which should guide their activities – in particular the requirements to contribute to economic growth and to innovation . But Blythman in her book has demonstrated clearly that, in several respects, the food they produce in such enormous quantities often has properties such as toxicity and dangers to the health of their consumers. This dichotomy raises questions such as

  1. Are the legislative requirements and social and economic norms which affect food processing internally consistent? and if not
  2. Are internal inconsistencies in these norms confined to their effects on food processing firms or are they more widely applicable to other sectors of the food industry or even to the world economy in general?
  3. Are there possibilities that these norms could be improved, for the benefit, for example, of consumers?

These are such huge questions that I propose to confine myself mainly to comments related to question 1.

The companies which operate in the packaged food industry are typical of companies which control an increasing proportion of the world’s economic output, insofar as their principal motivation is to increase the profits which accrue to their shareholders. Piketty’s detailed analysis leads to the conclusion that

capital’s share of income increased in most rich countries between 1970 and 2010…this trend is consistent with …an increase in capital’s bargaining power vis-a-vis labour over the past few decades, which have seen increased mobility of capital and heightened competition between states eager to attract investments…..it is also possible that this will continue to be the case in future” (Piketty, 2014.).

To increase their profits, as we have seen, processed food companies use production methods which enable them to produce vast quantities of food at very low cost per unit. Their production processes put extreme stress on the ingredients they use, so the companies spend enormous efforts and resources continuously to find and use new ingredients which will tolerate those extreme stresses without breaking down . Some of the changing mixes of ingredients they use have deleterious effects on the nutritional, toxicity and flavour of the products they produce. In addition, nutritional science is continually producing new findings about the toxicity and nutritional qualities of this increasing number and variety of ingredients. In order to restrain regulatory bodies set up by governments and international organisations from forcing them to abandon the use of cheap novel ingredients which may well have toxic and health damaging properties, food processing companies make strenuous and highly successful efforts to ensure that their representatives dominate the proceedings of those bodies. Company representatives restrain these bodies from making regulations against the interests of their companies in making profits. Governments of individual states encourage this. An important motivation is to prevent their acquisition of a reputation for strict regulation which could impair a state’s ability to retain and attract the operations of the food processing countries with the employment and contribution to economic output which they offer.

In order to achieve the profits that companies work so hard to achieve, they not only have to produce many millions of packets of processed food at very low cost per unit, they also have to persuade millions of customers to buy them. This is facilitated by the ready availability of mass media of communications –such as newspapers, television and social media –whose profitability is highly dependent on their willingness to convey messages to consumers at low cost that those products are nutritious and tasty. Those messages are reinforced by messages on the packages which contain the products, millions of which are distributed mainly via supermarkets. The British Government’s current policies of reducing the scope of the BBC can be seen as part of a strategy of encouraging mass communications media to concentrate their efforts on the role of stimulating economic growth, as opposed to wasting their efforts on entertaining and informing the public

Since they started nearly two hundred years ago, packaged food manufacturing companies and corporations have been highly innovative and ingenious in deploying and developing the strategies outlined above. In her brilliant book, Joanna Blythman has shown, in my view conclusively, that these strategies are unlikely ever to lead to those companies producing nutritious and tasty food. On balance, her work indicates that the food they produce is likely to remain poor in nutritional qualities and, indeed, often toxic. But corporate policies and products have been shaped by the requirements placed on the companies by most governments throughout the world to strive to increase the profits attributable to their shareholders. That the products they produce and sell are generally not very nutritious –and, indeed, often harmful to consumers’ health and/or toxic, is not of great interest to their producers. Nor is it of much interest to the companies that the agricultural and   food production processes involved in making products may often be harmful to the environment.

Joanna Blythman has shown conclusively that the nutritional qualities and taste most packaged foods offer to their consumers are often appalling. But in the present dominant world legislative, social and economic environment, the behaviour of food processing companies is highly rational. In Britain, their goals coincide closely with the British government’s goals for the industry. Defra wants to “promote a British brand, grow exports, improve skills, attract high-flyers and harness data and technology so that the industry can innovate and create jobs.” The British Government is “hugely ambitious for the future of food and farming and its potential to drive growth– that’s why we are bringing together industry to set out a vision for the future with a long-term plan to grow more, buy more and sell more British food”. (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 2015)

I have suggested that:

Multinational corporations and protesters against their policies are both rational, but corporations and protesters are operating under different logics. Disputes mainly arise because the logic under which multinational corporations operate –the search for profits –dictates that they seek to develop and exploit the largest markets…… (Senker, 2000)

And Susan George (2015, page155) concludes that Transnational Corporations “are the most powerful collective force in the world today, far outdistancing governments that are more often than not in their pockets anyway”.

It is a far higher priority for governments to attract and retain employment and gain economic growth from the operations of dynamic and innovative corporations, and to ensure that the shareholders’ of those corporations become richer, than to seek to ensure that their populations eat healthy nutritious foods.

Despite the strenuous noble efforts of highly competent researchers and investigative journalists such as Joanna Blythman and Nora McKeon, food processing companies’ priorities are unlikely to change any time soon.

References

George, S., 2015 Shadow Sovereigns: How Global Corporations are Seizing Power, Polity, Cambridge

Senker, P.2000, A Dynamic Perspective on Technology, Economic Inequality and Development, in Wyatt, S, et al. Editors, Technology and In/equality, Routledge, London, page 215

Piketty, T., 2014, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass, page 221.

Industry kick-starts work on Great British Food and Farming Plan, 2015, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, 16 July.

Policy Implications for Food Manufacturing – Part 1

BSUFN are currently hosting an informal series of discussions on the topic of ‘how much has food research changed in the past 40 years?‘ For each discussion a reading is suggested by one of BSUFN’s members. The second of the discussion groups will meet on Monday the 18th of January, from 12:30 to 14:00 at the University of Sussex, Fulton Building room 111.

The suggested reading for the upcoming discussion group is from: Joanna Blythman (2015) Swallow This: Serving up the food industry’s darkest secrets, Fourth Estate, London. Part I, Chapters 1 to 5 are recommended as reading to inform discussion, although the reading is not essential to join the discussion group, come along regardless of your background knowledge or prior preparation.

Peter Senker, one of BSUFN’s members and a member of the steering group, has prepared some notes based on his thoughts having read Joanna Blythman’s Swallow This. He presents a review of some key points about food manufacturing and processing from the book before making some suggestions for policy implications. Peter’s thoughts will be shared in two posts over the next two weeks prior to the discussion group meeting on the 18th of January. The first of these posts is shared below and considers the goals of food manufacturers.

Peter Senker

Some Notes on the Policy Implications following Review of Joanna Blythman’s Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets

Joanna Blythman’s book “Swallow This” is a study of the quality of the food produced by food manufacturers. Extensive detailed research led her to conclude that “the defining characteristics of this industry’s products” are “food and drink that is sweet, oily, .old, flavoured, coloured, watery, tricky and packed” …. And “we are led to believe that what goes on in food factories is essentially the same as home cooking only scaled up” ( page 10). She suggests that her book provides extensive evidence that any such perception is self-serving and misleading. Because more people are continually increasing consumption of foods mass-produced in factories “A growing number of us are simultaneously overfed and undernourished” (page 12). Food manufacturers combine sugar, processed fat and salt in their most quickly digested forms, and this combination may well be addictive. These foods contain chemicals with known toxic properties, and the industry has a long history of defending its use of controversial ingredients such as partially hydrogenated oils. There is substantial evidence that consumption of processed food could be a significant cause use of obesity, chronic disease and the rise in reported food allergies (page 13).

The public policy implications of this book are very important. So first I outline the goals of the companies which dominate the industry. I then outline the principal problems they face in attaining those goals. To secure those goals, they have to sell huge quantities of their products, so I outline their strategies for achieving this. I follow this with a discussion of the priority which food processing companies assign to the production of nutritious tasty food relative to the priorities assigned to other goals. I conclude by assessing the extent to which pressures on food manufacturers to improve the quality of the food they produce are likely to be successful in the future.

COMPANY GOALS

These companies and corporations comply with energy, intelligence and enthusiasm to the principal legislative framework which applies to them. In particular, company legislation insists that their principal aim should be to increase the revenue which accrues to their shareholders. In addition, they are highly successful in meeting the principal norms for companies and corporations set by the electorate and politicians, insofar as they make substantial contributions to economic growth, and to innovation.

PRINCIPAL PROBLEMS FACED BY COMPANIES IN SECURING THEIR GOALS

Producing large quantities of packaged food at low cost

In order to secure large profits, the companies need to have a large quantity of products to sell, each item having cost them the minimum amount to produce, package and distribute to customers. Cost minimisation involves processes such as frying at high temperatures using oils which will cope with such temperatures and which can be used as many times as possible without breaking down. (Page 127). Various sorts of additives are used to economise on oil use. The extreme heat and length of time needed to fry some popular foods creates health hazards.

Selling large quantities of packaged food

Food deteriorates the longer it takes between the time when it is picked or harvested and the time when the consumer eats it. Lengthening shelf life is a major goal of packaged food companies because it can take a time to sell large quantities of packaged foods to consumers spread over wide geographical areas.

The drive to make and sell large quantities of products quickly and cheaply and to keep these products “fresh” for a long time are only some of the factors which make packaged food producers continue to use new cheap ingredients which can help them to fulfil such objectives. They are aided in these endeavours by numerous suppliers of a wide variety of ingredients, few of which are used in domestic cookery.

The use of new ingredients presents packaged food producers with a number of problems, of which I only have space in these notes to consider a few. Changes in ingredients affect the taste, nutritional and health qualities of food and its texture. And through their own testing procedures , and from outside advice and sometimes legislation, food manufacturers often reach the conclusion that many of these changes are either adverse or likely to be adverse. Their responses to such information are often to continually take some ingredients out of the food they manufacture, and/or to add or substitute other new ingredients. The rate of innovation (if it could be measured) is indeed most impressive. But, as Blythman suggests, the net result of these change quality of the food which is ingested by its consumers is generally poor or unknown, in terms of taste, texture, nutritional qualities, health and safety.

The quality of packaged food

A central problem in considering the quality of food is that it is multi-dimensional. It includes taste and texture which are both matters of individual tastes and preferences; and also nutritional qualities which can, in principle, be measured more objectively, but are often extremely difficult to measure. Just as important, the science of nutrition is developing continually. As science develops, assessment of the nutritional value (or harm) caused by various food ingredients change. For example, developments in nutritional and allied sciences have led to important changes in scientific knowledge about the relative damage to human health caused by eating various types of fats; and to the extent of damage to health caused by ingesting various type of sugar. Food manufacturers have to try to cope with such developments in scientific knowledge. After food manufacturers have incorporates new ingredients into their products, they often have to cope with the effects of the diffusion of the rapidly developing and changing scientific knowledge about the nutritional qualities of all the ingredients they use.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

The second post from Peter Senker in this series of thoughts about the policy implcations of food manufacturing and Joanna Blythman’s book Swallow This will be shared next week on Monday the 11th of January 206.

Governing Food Policy Workshop Highlights Complexity and Diversity in Food Policy

The Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network (BSUFN) hosted a workshop on Governing Food Policy at the University of Sussex on Friday the 25th of September 2015. The workshop highlighted the complexity of food policy and the interactions between policy and governance of food within different sectors and at different scales. During the workshop it was acknowledged that there isn’t a single ‘food policy’ and this term in fact relates to numerous policies in sectors related to food.

Over 30 participants joined discussion during the workshop and heard about research being undertaken at the University of Sussex on areas related to food policy. This included ‘quick fire’ presentations on sustainability standards, international agricultural research, seed sovereignty, the role of food industry, economics and innovation, health, local food poverty, and the work of the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership.

During the workshop, kindly supported by SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit), eight people presented their work related to food policy. Researchers from SPRU, the Institute of Development Studies, and the Department of Social Work presented research which indicated the diversity of topics and sectors that constitute part of a web of different food policies. Two non-academics also presented their work on local community-based practice in the area of food policy.

The workshop saw the launch of BSUFN’s special interest group (SIG) on Food Policy and Governance. Members of the SIG and the wider Network will take the discussion during the workshop forward through additional activities, collaborations, and investigation into societal engagement with food policy.

A report on the Governing Food Policy Workshop will be made available here soon.

Food Policy Needs to Feed Society

In the run up to our Governing Food Policy Workshop on the 25th of September 2015, we are sharing a series of articles to provoke discussion. This post was written by Rachael Taylor and is the third post in this series. Rachael is a Doctoral student at SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit), University of Sussex and is researching small-holder farmers and agricultural development interventions in Northern Ghana.

Food Policy Needs to Feed Society

We cannot ignore the importance of food, we all need it to survive. Food is not only essential for life but also has cultural dynamics and provides a social function. The global food system cannot ignore that the primary objective of the food system is to feed society. This post questions whether existing food policies really reflect the needs and priorities of society.

A Complex Global Food Machine

The global food system is highly complex, with numerous sectors interacting at multiple scales and with different objectives and outcomes. It is complex because the huge number of people, processes, interactions, and influences can result in non-linear outcomes which means they are not possible to predict. It is easy for one cog in an Earth-sized machine to focus so intently on its own particular function that it forgets what the machine as a whole is trying to do. Food policy is the element of the food sector which is meant to manage this so that the food system as a whole obtain the necessary outcome of feed society.

Food policy sees the intersection of other major areas of the global food system. Food policy and governance refers to diverse sectors within the global food system and associated policies act at a range of scales in time and space. If there is any activity which is associated to food then somewhere there is a policy which relates to that.

But perhaps food policy has lost sight of the fact that, ultimately, its objective is to ensure the survival of society through sufficient and nutritious diets. Are food policies and the processes that lead to their development being controlled by the few in order to control the many?

A Food System Dominated by Few

In her recent book, Nora McKeon (2015) argues that even agricultural production is no longer primarily concerned with feeding society, instead being driven towards food as a commodity, food to produce biofuels, and food to feed livestock. Large agribusinesses, governmental policies and subsidies, international trade agreements, and intergovernmental priorities are diverting food production away from focusing on feeding society and towards achieving profit or political objectives. Mass-scale food production within the global system is no longer primarily concerned with ensuring that every individual always has sufficient culturally appropriate food to live a healthy and active life.

Agribusinesses prioritise food production, processing, and marketing in order to make financial profit. International trade agreements secure low prices for buyers and consumers, meaning producers at the other end of the food chain get paid little. Governmental targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases have driven demand for biofuels to replace fossil fuels, meaning crops are being used for fuel instead of food.

Changing diet patterns in response to increasing affluence globally has led to an increased demand for meat produce, meaning crops are being used to feed livestock instead of people. It is a widely-cited statistic that it takes ten kilograms of feed to produce one kilogram of beef, meaning an overall loss of nine kilograms of food produce. Peasant farmer organisation La Via Campesina state that less than half of all grain produced worldwide are now eaten by humans, the rest being used for biofuels and as livestock feed.

Over recent decades there have been many voices rising concerns that the food system is not functioning sufficiently to feed society. The volume and number of these voices has rapidly increased in recent years, particularly since the food price crisis in 2007-8. Many organisations, civil society groups, and farmer representative have described the food system as ‘broken’.

Putting Society Back at the Centre of Food

This is where we see the rise in mobilisation and action taken by the food sovereignty movement. Food sovereignty prioritises providing food for people, seeing food as a right and campaigns for food justice and equality. Food sovereignty argues for locally appropriate production methods and focuses on producers and local systems. The food sovereignty movement has its own policies and has produced statements and guidance for policy-makers globally.

Some may see ‘food sovereignty’ as another term and additional elements of a complex global food system. But at the moment the food sovereignty movement is arguably the most dominant voice rallying against big agribusiness and international politics and economics. This movement which considers food as a human right still has negligible influence on high-level food policy and governance but it is the first step towards putting society back at the centre of food systems. Food production is for consumption and the primary concern should be ensuring that every individual can eat enough to live a healthy and active life.

 

Reference:

McKeon, N. (2015) Food Security Governance: Empowering communities, regulating corporations, Routledge, Abingdon, pp246