Representing 21 countries on every continent, the nominees for the 2013 Food Sovereignty Prize—which will be announced in July and awarded in October—“are doing remarkable work against steep odds, creating innovative and courageous solutions to hunger and poverty by taking back control over their food systems,” said Eric Holt-Gimenez, director of Food First, a member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, in a statement.
Food sovereignty refers to “the right of people to define their own food systems.” Not foreign agribusiness companies. Not shareholders. Not even governments. Farmers and eaters. People.
“Food sovereignty isn’t just eating better, or eating local or eating with friends—it’s a political statement,” said Paul Nicholson, a farmer and food sovereignty leader in the Basque region of France. “It’s a political proposition in the face of the present capitalistic system or neoliberal system. We are constructing a new relationship between peoples, and it’s a citizens right: It’s a right to decide what to eat, how it’s produced and who produces it.”
Here in the United States, there are glimmers of grassroots-level activism and action around food sovereignty, and yet the majority of our food supply—even organic food—is still controlled by a few large corporations. Around the world, however, conscious citizens are pushing back on the forces of globalization that would disrupt food ways that have been around for centuries. These movements are bottom-up and often led by peasants and students.
Many of these organizations are members of La Vía Campesina, an organization begun in 1993 to spark an international peasants movement for food and land sovereignty, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Here are five food sovereignty movements that are making a big difference and putting people back in control of their food!
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