With soaring food prices and the biofuel production debate at fever pitch, the spotlight is firmly on the global food system and what has gone wrong with it. As the food sovereignty movement gains momentum, communities and individuals in many parts of the world are striving to reclaim control of what food they produce, how they produce it and what they consume.

Nowhere is this more keenly felt than in the rural communities of the developing countries. Most of the world's food is grown, collected and harvested by more than 2.5 billion small-scale farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers and artisanal fisherfolk, with many people earning their livelihood at different points along the food chain.

This online book, which includes video and audio clips of producers and consumers, explores the role of localised food systems in the newly emerging food sovereignty policy framework. Such framework, in the words of the author, seeks to "guarantee and protect people's space, ability and right to define their own models of production, food distribution and consumption patterns".

As globalised agrifood systems threaten to engulf smaller indigenous ones, the book examines the impact from a social and ecological, as well as from a purely economic and nutritional standpoint. It offers examples of the many practical ways in which local autonomous communities, including those in ACP countries, manage and oversee different links in the food chain, sustaining traditional knowledge and producing innovations. And it identifies the transformations needed to regenerate a network of diverse local food systems based on democratic control, equity, social justice and ecological sustainability.

Towards Food Sovereignty
By M Pimbert
IIED, 2008
Downloadable as PDF file (4.19 MB) from:

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