Food sovereignty (a term that was coined by members of Via Campesina in 1996) was announced at the coalition’s international conference held in Tlaxcala (Mexico), and was then officially proposed during the parallel Forum at the FAO World Food Summit in Rome, in November of the same year.
Food sovereignty means “the right of peoples, communities and countries to define their own agricultural, labor, fishing, food and land policies that are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique reality . It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that everyone has the right to healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate food, the resources to produce it and the ability to support themselves and their societies ”.
This definition is taken up in 2007 by the Nyéléni declaration at the conclusion of the forum on food sovereignty; it was defined as follows: “food sovereignty is the right of peoples to nutritious and culturally adequate, accessible food, produced in a sustainable and ecological form, and also the right to be able to decide their own food and production system”.
In economics it is a policy that implies the political control necessary for a people in the production and consumption of food. According to supporters of food sovereignty, countries must be able to define their own agricultural and food policies according to their needs, relating to farmers ‘and consumers’ organizations.
In Italy there is a network for the protection of Food Sovereignty: the CISA (Italian Committee for Food Sovereignty)
The Italian Committee for Food Sovereignty is a network of over 270 trade associations, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, social and environmental associations and movements that have decided to join in an Italian platform to support Food Sovereignty and all related issues . To affirm this principle, a sustainable and family-scale agricultural model is proposed and supported, to protect the environment but also and above all the social balance of each community.
The Italian Committee for Food Sovereignty was formed at the FAO Special Forum within the 32nd session of the World Food Security Committee in November 2006, to respond to the request for mobilization of the International Planning Committee (IPC), committee recognized as guarantor of the civil society consultation process at FAO. During the aforementioned forum, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency assessed the progress of the actions and commitments undertaken to achieve halving of hunger in the world and civil society organizations proclaimed with a single voice the slogan “We must overcome hunger!”.
The member organizations of the Italian Committee for Food Sovereignty closely follow the major international events on agricultural issues, food security and responses to the global food crisis; elaborate analyzes and proposals, based on experience and close collaboration with associations of small producers around the world.
But Food Sovereignty cannot be claimed and achieved without a revision of our way of understanding the relationship between the social system and the territory; without reviewing the deeper meaning of the role of human beings in the use of the earth’s goods and without the full conviction that the entire rural model of the last 60 years should be revised in the direction of a new humanistic vision of agriculture and food.
In this direction, Agroecology is the increasingly visible and perceptible horizon with which to reorganize not only the production system but also its connections with the social system and the environment.
Food sovereignty, in fact, cannot be achieved if we do not rewrite the ethical principles without which agri-food products, their derivatives and the agri-food system are always and only seen as commodities and systems of mercantile exchange.
The relationship between Humanity and the Territory is something much deeper, where interference with ecological systems and connected human systems, without a Humanistic Policy, can lead to enormous social and ecological imbalances.
For this reason at the center of food sovereignty are people and not politics, markets or businesses: farmers, fishermen, indigenous peoples, landless peoples, rural workers, migrants, nomadic farmers, communities living in forests, women, men, young people, consumers, ecological movements, social organizations.
Taking up one of the fundamental principles of Pope Francis’ Encyclical: Laudato Sì, it is necessary to rewrite the treaties on agriculture (starting with the Treaty of Rome of 1957) in the direction of an Integral Ecology without which we risk miserably and irreversibly impoverishing Humanity and Planet.
Food sovereignty, far from being a fad or something nostalgic, is the only and true criterion for the protection of peoples, their identities, the relations of justice between them and policies that are really connected to the ecological capacity of the planet. respecting the typical features and local traditions.
The reductionist hypothesis of the Free Market (without degrees of Freedom) * and of a competition of ecological systems (such as agriculture with its products and the contribution of human labor) must be totally reconsidered in an economic and ecological model of proximity. where processes and systems are close and consequential and where globalization is filtered by the only viable system in it: precisely Proximity. Food Sovereignty is one of the applications of Proximity Policies. These Policies are not opposed to globalization, on the contrary they regulate it, filter it, structure it with a model very similar to that of bodies: from the microscopic ones to the more macroscopic ones, up to the social body.
We do not know if we have a lot or little time to face and resolve these issues but surely we must put on that healthy restlessness that puts us in a position to be actors of history again or if you prefer Sovereigns again.
Without this attitude, no sovereignty is possible, much less Food Sovereignty.
* Degrees of freedom in quantum mechanics represent the necessary conditions in which elementary particles can find themselves or move.