What is food sovereignty?

What is food sovereignty?


Supermarket protest

Food sovereignty allows communities control over the way food is produced, traded and consumed. It could create a food system that is designed to help people and the environment rather than make profits for multinational corporations.

The food sovereignty movement is a global alliance of farmers, growers, consumers and activists.

What’s wrong with the current food system?

Big business dominates our global food system. A small handful of large corporations control much of the production, processing, distribution, marketing and retailing of food. This concentration of power enables big businesses to wipe out competition and dictate tough terms to their suppliers. It forces farmers and consumers into poverty and hunger. Under this system, around a billion people are hungry and around two billion are obese or overweight.

The global food sovereignty movement

Movements of people across the world are fighting for food sovereignty. La Via Campesina is one of the largest social movements in the world, and brings together more than 200 million small and medium-scale farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous peoples, migrants and agricultural workers from 70 countries.

17 April is the international day of action for peasant struggle. On this day Global Justice Now joins hundreds of demonstrations for food sovereignty across the globe. In 2014 we joined the Landworkers’ Alliance outside the UK’s Department for Farming, Environment and Rural Affairs, to call for a better farming system.

Food sovereignty in the UK

Building on the work of communities across the UK to achieve a fairer, more sustainable food system, July 2012 saw people come together to galvanise the food sovereignty movement in the UK.

Over 100 farmers, community gardeners, co-op workers, campaigners and activists from all corners of the UK took part in a weekend of discussions, action planning and skill sharing.

The founding of the UK movement followed the launch of a European food sovereignty movement the previous year.

Since then a number of exciting organisations have sprung up, including:

Eat, Grow, Resist

In every town across the UK there are community projects you can get involved with to further the reliance of the local food system. Search for local community gardens, food cooperatives, community supported agriculture, anti-supermarket campaigns and community meals.


Agroecological food production relies largely on renewable resources available on the farm, such as natural predators for pest control, rather than external inputs like chemical fertilisers.

Agroecology conserves resources and biodiversity by working with local ecosystems, and so is dependent on the specialist local knowledge of small-scale producers. It not only benefits the environment and makes farming more resilient, but can also increase productivity, particularly for small-scale farmers.

In April 2014, Janet Maro from Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania came to the UK to tell her story of teaching local farmers about agroecological farming techniques

Find out more