chapter
18 Pages

The Land Question in the Food Sovereignty Project

ByPhilip McMichael

This essay explores the changing landscape of food sovereignty politics in the shadow of the so-called ‘land grab’. While the food sovereignty movement emerged within a global agrarian crisis conjuncture triggered by northern dumping of foodstuffs, institutionalized in WTO trade rules, the twenty-first-century food, energy and financial crises intensify this crisis for the world’s rural poor (inflating prices of staple foods and agri-inputs) deepening the process of dispossession. The circulation of food is compounded by global financial flows into enclosing land for industrial agriculture and/or speculation, challenging small producer rights across the world. Under these conditions, the terms of struggle for the food sovereignty movement are shifting towards a human rights politics on the ground as well as in global forums like the FAO’s Committee on World Food Security. This includes in particular the need to develop a discursive politics to reframe what is at stake, namely the protection and support of a production model based on social co-operation, multi-functionality and ecologically restorative principles.