In talking about the national security of any country in the world, one has to look at food too. In case you didn’t know it, food can cause a serious breakdown of law and order. People would be restless, moody, and irrational if they weren’t sure of eating for any length of time, especially if their access to healthy, nutritious, and culturally relevant food is not guaranteed. In this regard, one has to look at issues such as food security, food justice, and food sovereignty. All the three are different but can’t survive alone without each other, as you will see below.
What Is Food Justice?
Food justice is part of, at least in the United States, what has become known as the food movement. It incorporates people from different backgrounds who want to see justice prevail in the production, access, and distribution of food to all people. What all these individuals (such as progressive farmer advocates, farmers, and activists) all fight for is equity in food production. They also seek to influence the sort of structural changes that eventually lead to more sustainable improvements in food production, accessibility, and consumption too.
Under food justice, all stakeholders agree that the focus should be on building democratic systems that guarantee food as a universally accepted basic human right. In the past, the focus seemed to have been too much on corporates who have reaped maximum profits and controlled the food system with an iron fist. Consequently, this has led to massive losses by farmers. What is more, the old approach has led to a situation where consumers are forced to eat what these corporate entities produce rather than what is culturally acceptable to them.
What Do Those Agitating For Food Justice Hope To Achieve?
The food justice enthusiasts place a lot of premium on eliminating food insecurity. For example, they note that the US is home to roughly 50 million individuals who are food insecure. What this means is the food insecure individual has to deal with the unreliable and irregular supply of the food they need for survival. The sad bit is almost half of all food insecure individuals are children. Additionally, this group also includes individuals with low-income who, therefore, lack the resources to seek better alternatives. It also features a large percentage of people of color.
The following are the core principles of food justice:
- Agrarian reform
- Protection of natural resources
- Reorganization of food trade
- Eradication of global hunger
- Pursuit of social peace
- Enhanced democratic control
What Is Food Sovereignty?
Food sovereignty is a bit different from food justice. Nevertheless, where the two interact is in the fact that food justice ultimately leads to food sovereignty. Anyone who seeks food justice would love to see everybody able to access good, healthy, nutritious, and culturally relevant food at reasonable prices. Food justice is all about the right to quality food, which is also one of the objectives of the whole talk on sovereignty. To many observers, both concepts are political, whereas food security is more technical.
Moreover, food sovereignty touches on the rights that each community, person, or state has for determining – independently – what they would love to eat. Other than that, it also covers their rights to set what they deem the best agricultural policies to pursue and pass into law. Food sovereignty goes deeper to look at the ecological aspect of food production and consumption too. For example, it recommends utilizing the natural resources well to ensure that everybody can access food that is produced without damaging the environment.
Food sovereignty has the following principles:
- Food for people
- Food providers are valuable
- Food systems must be localized
- Food must be controlled locally
- Knowledge and skills must be built
- Cooperation with nature is highly valued
As shown here, food justice and food sovereignty are really two sides of the same coin.