Local Food Growing & Food sovereignty
“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”
Bill Mollison, father of Permaculture…
What is Food sovereignty?
Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.
Six pillars of food sovereignty
focuses on food for people
values food providers
localises food systems
puts control locally
builds knowledge and skills
works with nature
Food sovereignty proposes an alternative food system that creates practical, sustainable and democratic solutions to the failed industrialised food model. It is an approach developed by smallscale food producers in the global South that has become a global movement.
Food sovereignty insists on the basic view that the main purpose of the food system is to feed the population in a way that is fair and sustainable. Food is not a commodity like any other because it is fundamentally necessary for life, and our food system needs to enable everyone to live free from hunger. One country or one part of the population of a country cannot achieve food sovereignty on their own if their food system marginalises and starves other people. Our food system therefore needs to be controlled democratically by the people, not by elites or corporates. Who produces food, how and for whom, and who benefits is crucial.
Part of this is ensuring that food producers themselves are able to earn a decent living. In many countries in the global South, smallscale food producers are among the most vulnerable to hunger.
Food sovereignty happens by building local food systems – bringing producers and consumers closer together, with fewer ‘food miles’, growing local varieties, in a system that suits the local environment, culture and traditions. Local food systems also need to be locally controlled by the people who produce food and the people who consume it – who need to be able to decide on and shape the food system they want. Local policies can support local production and help it replace the food products of the industrial system, provide incentives for people to grow food in towns and cities and help people to resist corporate control of food.
It is essential for food sovereignty that food systems should work with nature, respecting the integrity of ecosystems. In practice, food sovereignty is often linked with agroecological farming, such as organic farming.
Food sovereignty is, though, intensive and high input in one area: knowledge. It values traditional, indigenous and local knowledge, and the skills and knowledge that farmers and other food producers develop over years of working the land.
Find out more about the origins of food sovereignty and the some of the groups that are part of the international movement.