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What is food sovereignty?


It is our right to control our own healthy food systems through ecologically sound and sustainable methods. It is an alternative solution to current methods where food is treated as a commodity to be traded for the benefit of large corporate interests. 


Food security is often confused with food sovereignty, the difference being the first one is setting the goal, the other defining the way to realise it. Food security is ensuring that all people have access to sufficient healthy, nutritious, affordable food all of the time. Food security goes on from this with the rights of our farmers and producers to have access to fair trade and be able to define their own food systems (production, distribution, and consumption) without having to depend on the fluctuating international markets.  


Six Pillars of Food Sovereignty


Focuses on Food for People: The right to sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food for all people is at the centre of food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries policies. Food is NOT just another commodity. 


Values Food Providers: The rights, including the right to a decent income, of all women and men who grow, harvest and process food, are respected. Policies and actions that undervalue them or threaten their livelihoods are rejected. Localises 


Food Systems: Food providers and consumers are connected and are at the centre of decision-making on food issues. Policies and practices that promote unsustainable and inequitable international trade and give power to unaccountable corporations are rejected. 


Puts Control Locally: Control over territory, land, grazing, water, seeds, livestock and fish populations rests with food providers; their right to use and share them in socially and environmentally sustainable ways is respected. Natural resources are not privatized. 


Builds Knowledge and Skills: Food providers pass on their skills and local knowledge to future generations. Works with Nature: Food Sovereignty promotes agro-ecological methods of food production and rejects methods that harm ecosystems, are energy intensive or depend on monocultures, destructive fishing practices and other industrialized production methods. 


International Forum for Food Sovereignty, 2007 Nyeleni Village, Mali