Food sovereignty isn't just a global issue, it's a local one, too! With over 36% of Cortland County taken up by full- and part-time farmers, keeping local foods local is an integral step in making Cortland a healthier and more nutritionally strong place to live, work and play.
The phrase "food sovereignty" was originally coined in 1996 by a group called Via Campesina and is the notion that "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".
Global Justice Now states that food sovereignty "allows communities control over the way food is produced, traded and consumed...and...could create a food system that is designed to help people and the environment rather than make profits for multinational corporations"
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance states that food sovereignty "...goes well beyond ensuring that people have enough food to meet their physical needs".
While each organization or group that stands for food sovereignty may hold to slightly different principles, most center around these topics:
FOCUSES ON FOOD FOR PEOPLE
Food sovereignty puts the right to sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food for all at the center of food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries policies.
VALUES FOOD PROVIDERS
Food sovereignty values all those who grow, harvest and process food, including women, family farmers, herders, fisherpeople, forest dwellers, indigenous peoples, and agricultural, migrant and fisheries workers.
LOCALIZES FOOD SYSTEMS
Food sovereignty brings food providers and consumers closer together so they can make joint decisions on food issues that benefit and protect all.
PUTS CONTROL LOCALLY
Food sovereignty respects the right of food providers to have control over their land, seeds and water and rejects the privatization of natural resources.
BUILDS KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
Food sovereignty values the sharing of local knowledge and skills that have been passed down over generations for sustainable food production free from technologies that undermine health and well-being.
WORKS WITH NATURE
Food sovereignty focuses on production and harvesting methods that maximize the contribution of ecosystems, avoid costly and toxic inputs and improve the resiliency of local food systems in the face of climate change.
At Seven Valleys Health Coalition, we are determined to continue to learn about all aspects which influence the health and well-being of Cortland residents. We hope that you will join in on this mission with us, perhaps starting with the topic of local food sovereignty, recognizing that to be a good leader in our community, one needs to be a good learner first!