Transforming the right to food
DOI link for Transforming the right to food
Transforming the right to food book
When the food sovereignty movement emerged, the right to food already had its own network and advocates and its own dynamics. This network, led by a relatively small number of human rights experts and specialized NGOs, focused heavily on interactions with governments and UN bodies, using advocacy, campaigns and awareness raising. Its main objective was to make the right to food more operational. Like other economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) advocates, right to food defenders were struggling to identify a ‘constituency’ for ESCR (Nelson and Dorsey 2008, 83): they were confronted with the challenge of generating sufficient public pressure to impact governments, donor country policies and international regimes (Nelson and Dorsey 2008, 180). The emergence of transnational agrarian movements in the 1990s raised new challenges for right to food defenders. First, these agrarian movements questioned the legitimacy of the NGOs who had been talking on behalf of peasants (McKeon 2009, 12). They insisted on remaining autonomous from NGOs. Lorna, a Vía Campesina support worker, recalls: ‘Objection to the right to food was strong because it felt like it was imposed from the outside … The objective of the movement was its independence from NGOs, to consolidate itself.’ Member organizations wanted ‘their project, their human rights’.1 Second, these movements recognized and made use of the right to food, but did not take it up as a collective action frame.2 The right to food did not provide them with the narrative and vision they needed. As a frame, the right to food failed to resonate. Agrarian movements rejected different aspects of the right to food. The main elements of this critique are summarized in Table 6.1.