FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

The theme of 'Food sovereignty' focuses attention on how ideas and practices of history, power, and justice are integral to food production and cultures of food consumption.

NEWS: Our first event is happening on 30 June 2021 (see below)

NEWS: We have an artist in residence: Zev Robinson. You can find out more about him on his personal website or his The Art and Politics of Eating site.

The Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit crisis have revealed a number of structural vulnerabilities in the UK food system and exposed the scale of food poverty in the UK today. The number of people dependent on the charitable donations of food banks has increased exponentially and Trussell Trust food banks alone distributed 1.2 million food parcels between April and September in 2020, but many thousands were already food bank dependent before the Covid crisis. The endemic level of food bank dependence in the UK can be understood as a ‘food sovereignty’ crisis.

Food sovereignty as a form of local struggle began in the late 90s from the Via Campesina farmer’s alliance in Belgium, and was subsequently developed into a global movement which asks for “the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods” (Declaration of Nyéléni, 2007). Unlike food security which has been criticised as overly reliant on a highly industrialised, corporate global food industry, food sovereignty focuses on people’s movements and shifts attention to how ideas and practices of history, power, and justice are integral to food production and cultures of food consumption.

We believe that a policy-based or a scientific approach to the current food crisis must also take into active consideration the concerns of those diverse communities involved in the production of food, including farmers and the hospitality sector, and explicitly engage with vulnerable constituencies such as working class and BAME communities, whose access to food has been undermined and prejudiced in approaches that treat food security as a technical domain. An interdisciplinary humanities and legal approach to food and justice issues is key here. It is also important to recognise how food, water or resource crisis as well as their supply and dearth is linked with historical factors such as the extraction and distribution of raw materials under colonialism and global capitalism, and has only accelerated under the last decades of neo-liberal austerity in Britain.

Unfortunately, the media often focuses its attention on high profile advocates against child hunger in the UK such as the footballer Marcus Rashford, but the crisis necessitates deep and sustained interdisciplinary analysis. The food sovereignty research group is formed to work with practitioners and activists to deepen understanding of the long-term causes of food poverty and the possible futures of food sovereignty. The urgency of food sovereignty affects us all. The daily demands of production and distribution of food, the terrible conditions of hunger and reliance on food banks both in Britain and globally, and the plural cultures of the sharing and consumption of food make it a great time to approach this topic which also clearly connect the global and the local.

2021 Events

30 June 2021

From Food Poverty to Food Sovereignty

In this online half-day workshop, we want to bring together local food producers, activists for food justice, academics from different disciplines, and artists to reflect on a set of core questions that can inform future directions in research, policy, and practice. Our artists in residence, Zev Robinson and Trasi Henan, curator Tommaso Ranfagni, and representatives from The Wash House Garden, The Landworkers Alliance, Glasgow Community Food Network, and Propagate will come together with academics in the university to discuss:

Session One: What is food poverty and how should it be defined?

Session Two: How can we address food poverty in the UK, and what needs to change in the UK food system to eradicate food poverty? Which of the following frameworks (if any) should be used to drive forwards a national campaign to reform the UK food system: Food Security; the Right to Adequate Food; Food Sovereignty; Food Justice?

For more information please contact Donald.Buglass@Glasgow.ac.uk


Staff with Food Sovereignty