As a part of our living and learning together, there are moments in Sunseed when we gather to share ideas and knowledge about one topic that could be of general interest. We call it seminar and yesterday we had the pleasure of listening to Lizzie, our sustainable living coordinator, introducing the basic concepts of food sovereignty.
As a topic it may seem quite abstract, but in fact it is stricly related to what we do everyday growing our own food and building networks with local farmers. Maybe for this reason we were quite a lot sharing our ideas in the terrace behind the main house.
Lizzie told us that as a concept, food sovereignty was first framed by the international peasant movement La Via Campesina at the World Food Summit in 1996, and it is rooted in the ongoing global struggles over control of food, land, water, and livelihoods. Food sovereignty is a movement growing from the bottom up, from the farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples and landless workers most impacted by global hunger and poverty. Food sovereignty goes beyond ensuring that people have enough food to meet their physical needs. It asserts that people must reclaim their power in the food system by rebuilding the relationships between people and the land, and between food providers and those who eat.
“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. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”
Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007
Food sovereignty is based on four principles:
- To empower the food providers, giving them rights and access to land and combatting indecent labor conditions
- To localize food systems, bringing providers and consumers close together and respecting the right of food providers to have control over their land, seed and water against privatisation
- To value traditional knowledge and skills, that have been passed down over generations for sustainable food production free from technologies that undermine health and well-being
- To work with nature, focusing on production and harvesting methods that maximize the contribution of ecosystems, avoid costly and toxic inputs and improve the resiliency of local food systems in the face of climate change.
Finally, Lizzie invited us to pay attention to all the processes that bring food on our table and to acknowledge them not treating food as a commodity. She also encouraged us to be aware of local plants and herbs and to use the as medicines. It could be easy to find meaning and happiness living simply in harmony with nature.