We think of wholefood shops as being on the retail arm of the emerging UK food sovereignty movement - exercising a version of the rights and values listed below.
Food sovereignty proposes an alternative food system that creates practical, sustainable and democratic solutions to the failed industrialised food model, which involves endemic hunger, resource depletion, and gross inequalities. Food Sovereignty is an approach developed by smallscale food producers in the global South and was first presented by their umbrella organisation La Via Campesina at the 1996 World Food Summit.
Over 500 representatives gathered in Mali in 2007 for the Nyéléni Forum for Food Sovereignty, there was a follow-up European-Nyéléni Forum in Austria in 2011, which then led to the organisation of a UK gathering in 2012.
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 focuses on food for people rather than internationally tradeable commodities.
- It values food providers rather than eliminating them.
- It localises food systems rather than encouraging dependence on inequitable global trade, and it takes control of the food system away from unaccountable corporations.
- It builds knowledge and skills that conserve and develop local food production, and rejects alien technologies such as GMOs.
- It works with nature in diverse (agro)ecological systems, rather than energy-intensive production methods which damage the environment and contribute to global warming.
(taken from 'Securing Future Food', a report by the UK Food Group)
The 2008 UN/World Bank International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) carried out by more than 400 scientists from more than 80 countries over 4 years, also found that a move towards agroecological food provision is necessary if hunger is to be eradicated, equity realised, and the environment restored.
La Via Campesina in the UK
Food, Debt and Power Report: How UK aid affects food systems: