Paul Nicholson, the EHNE’s Via Campesina representative, is a featured author in Food First’s upcoming book, Food Movements Unite! In a recent interview he shares his views on food sovereignty:
“Food sovereignty is a perspective for changing society and an alternative to the neoliberal policies, from a social and community perspective. This means that food sovereignty is much greater than food security. It’s the political right to control polices and the public goods and define what we eat from a social perspective, not just an individual one. And within the framework of neoliberal politics this is clearly not going to happen. The theory and practice of comparative advantage has resulted in the massive destruction of the rural world because it reduces everything to the criteria of competition without any basis for social or labor rights. At the same time, it generates environmental costs that are then socialized. We have to reveal that neoliberal policies are the causes of the poverty, exclusion, and misery that exist in the world. And although we know that neoliberal policies have failed in this day in age, they continue to drive models of production that are absolutely destructive. The response we can give to such policies is Food Sovereignty that brings together all movements: rural, urban, from the North and from the South. Food sovereignty as a right of the people is an integral demand for social movements from around the world.
We think that the new pathways and the new food and agriculture policies should be based on the kind of Food Sovereignty that is not just for farmers, but a collective right of the people. It is the right of citizens to determine food and agriculture policies, to decide what and how to produce and who produces. It is the right to public goods like water, land, and seeds. We need policies based on solidarity among citizens and between consumers and producers. We need to regulate markets because it is impossible to maintain agrarian policies based on market liberalization. We need socially sustainable, ecologically produced food that provides work for people everywhere.”