Food sovereignty

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.

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S is for seed banks

07 October 2014

Community Seeds Banks emerged about 30 years ago as a response to biological diversity loss,  increasing corporate control over  seeds and the impact of natural disasters and climate change on crop production.

R is for resilience

06 October 2014

Resilience is the capacity for people, their communities and the environment to face sudden changes or disasters and to recover from these shocks. Although it is an important and useful concept, it has become a buzz word in international development.

Q is for quotes

05 October 2014

The latest in our A to Z of food sovereignty in Africa is: Quotes.

“It is not about bread. It is about making money."
Nigerian agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina, telling government and business leaders that the best way to spark an agriculture boom is to focus on profit. March 2014.

P is for Participatory Plant Breeding

04 October 2014

Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) is a decentralised and participatory approach to breeding and creating different types of plants. Researchers and farmers work together to create varieties of plants that are better adapted to local soils and weather patterns.

O is for Organic

03 October 2014

Organic farming uses crop rotations, manure and compost to improve soil fertility and avoids using pesticides and chemical fertilisers to improve crop yields. Organic farming is a way of farming which includes many agroecological techniques such as water-harvesting, agroforestry, green manures, etc. It is also a term used to denote organic certification.

N is for ngitili

02 October 2014

Ngitili is a word for ‘enclosed fodder reserve’ in Sukuma, a regional language of Tanzania. It refers to an enclosed area, closed to livestock during the wet season to allow the vegetation to regenerate, then opened again during the peak of the dry season. It provides fodder, firewood, timber and medicinal plants throughout the year. The ngitili system has had an impact on multiple fronts.

M is for Mulching

01 October 2014

Mulching involves covering the soil with a layer of plant material such as leaves, grass clippings, wood chips and even cardboard. It has a number of benefits including:

L is for likoti

30 September 2014

Likoti means ‘holes’ in Sesotho (one of 11 official Lesotho languages). It is used to describe a method of Conservation Agriculture where pits of about 30cm in diameter by 20cm in depth are dug and filled with organic fertiliser and seeds.

K is for Kenya

29 September 2014

Agriculture is a hugely important part of Kenya’s economy. Over 87% of the population works on the land, and farming accounts for around 30% of the country’s GDP. The main crops it produces are maize, tea, sugar cane, coffee and wheat, and its most important export crops are tea, cut flowers, tobacco and coffee.

J is for jobs

28 September 2014

Agriculture currently employs about 65% of Africa’s population, but the figure is likely to continue to fall given current speeds of rural to urban migration (40% of African people live in urban areas at the moment but the figure will be more than 50% by 2030).


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Latest posts

My week with La Via Campesina

27 July 2017

It’s not every day you get the opportunity to spend a few days with one of the world’s largest social movements. La Via Campesina represents 200 million small-scale food producers, agricultural workers and farmers across the world.

A Peoples Food Policy - a vision for a better food system

26 June 2017

After his failed backstabbing leadership bid, Michael Gove’s sudden return to the frontbench in the recent cabinet reshuffle was a shock to many.

The two faces of farming in Oxford

12 January 2017

Every January two big farming conferences take place at the same time - the Oxford Farming Conference was set up 80 years ago and has come to represent the establishment view of farming. Farming is seen as a business like any other, where priorities are economies of scale, the key drivers are profits and the pre-eminent markets are global.

Building a big inspiring food sovereignty movement

01 November 2016

We're back from the the Nyéléni food sovereignty forum in Romania, where we had the opportunity to meet with other activists, campaigners and producers to build a big inspiring movement across Europe. Here are the main highlights from the forum.

The story behind Monsanto’s malicious monopolies in India

29 September 2016

India’s countryside has been marred with tragedy over the past twenty years with nearly 300,000 farmers committing suicide.  A staggering 60,000 of these tragic deaths have taken place in the state of Maharashtra, located in India’s ‘cotton-belt.’

Seeds of Freedom Tanzania: A film

11 August 2016

We are told that Tanzania has an abundance of available fertile land, but that production is inefficient, based on many small farms, and needs modernisation through private sector investment in large-scale high-input industrial agriculture. Critics maintain that Africa has been lined up for corporate agribusiness market penetration, with a focus on land and water, food and bio-fuels.


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From the roots up - How agroecology can feed Africa

March 2015

Sympathy with organic food production is at an all-time high. Perhaps "It’s a nice idea, when you can afford it" sums up the approach of many people. But extending these principles of production to the whole food system? It just doesn’t seem practical. There are an awful lot of people to feed in the world and, if you’re hungry, you don’t care much about the niceties of how the food was produced.

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Briefing: The Landless Workers Movement

May 2014

Radical and inspiring, Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people since it was formed in the 1980s.
This year the movement marked its thirtieth anniversary with its sixth national congress in Brasília.

Latest news

Today sees the launch of A People’s Food Policy – a ground-breaking manifesto outlining a people’s vision of food and farming in England that is supported by over 80 food and farming organisations. The report draws on 18 months of extensive, nation-wide consultations with grassroots organisations, NGOs, trade unions, community projects, small businesses and individuals. It has resulted in a set of policy proposals and a vision for change that is rooted in the lived experiences and needs of people most affected by the failures in the current food system.

Responding to the news that Monsanto had accepted a takeover offer from Bayer, and would potentially create the world's biggest seed and pesticide company, Aisha Dodwell, a food campaigner from Global Justice Now said:

Food sovereignty activists protest a secret elite meeting being held in London convened by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).