The objective of this essay is to present to the readers the concept of food sovereignty. This objective will be achieved by stating the importance of food sovereignty in a society, through the impact food has on you, the producers and the people in a community. To illustrate what will be written, the 7 major concepts of food sovereignty would be used to show what makes a community food sovereign. An example of a possible way of implementing the concepts of food sovereignty would be used, with Dawson college being the field to operate.
Food is important! Everyone can tell. It is an important way to preserve our culture, our identity, but other than that, it drives economies. However, the most significant importance stays that food is an essential requirement for survival. People buy and consume food products every day to achieve their various tasks, but if the quality of the food they consume is not good, their lives are in danger. This brings us to consider the importance of Food security, which is the accessibility of people to healthy food, in order to be well and active (4, Food sovereignty in Canada). For people to get access to healthy food, a good food system is needed. That is its five main components which are production, distribution, access, consumption and disposal need to work effectively. This food system has three major tasks to be effective. From the Food Security Network of Newfoundland & Labrador (FSN), A good food network protects the land, water, and air so we can keep producing food, support the people and businesses to make enough money to keep working in the food system and also, it makes sure that everyone can get enough healthy food.
October 16th 2016, was “La Via Campesina’s International Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty and against transnational corporations (TNCs)”. This movement of farmer organizations from all over the world founded in 1993, is one of the main ways by which small farmers make hear their voices. The concept of Food sovereignty was first presented at the World Food Summit in 1996 by La Via Campesina. The idea behind this concept, which is widely used today is basically giving the right to the people to control or manage their own food system making decisive food policies, and keep it ecological sustainable. To effectively fight against injustice in the food system, and the spread of GMOs, seven (7) guidelines or pillars were defined by la via Campesina. The six pillars are based on the fact that Food sovereignty;
- Focuses on Food for people,
- Values food providers
- Localises food systems
- Puts control locally
- Builds knowledge and skills
- Works with nature
- Recognises food is sacred
Today, food is perceived as a commodity like various essential natural resources like water. Because of this, the food system, has taken the design of a business, and the food system has been controlled by a handful of Multinational companies that use any kind of ways that would permit the production of food at the lowest cost possible. The reason why this is so bad, is because overtime people get used to food produced by these companies. The way of producing food becomes unique, and food diversity becomes more and more rare, because only the products with high sales potential get selected for production. Another important disadvantage includes the harmful practices such as the broad use of GMOs, pesticides, hormones, and many more that are bad for our health and cause illnesses. Overall, the combined practices used by multinationals cause harm to the consumers, but also to the environment.
To bring it into context, Dawson college experiences a monopoly from its food provider Chadwell. Dawson cafeteria, the main food provider on campus includes a Tim Horton, sandwiches and pizzas. The ingredients used for the food production are all bought and managed by Chadwells, which charges prices that would ensure them high returns because of their monopolistic status. Dawson college has aloud some programs on campus which reflect their envy of being food sovereign. These programs are mainly separated in two which are Dawson Gardens, and Dawson Dinners.
Implementing a food sovereign system in Dawson college, will help the campus be more food secure. To do so, implementing the 7 pillars of food sovereignty is capital. The food system policies to be made must primarily reflect the need for food of Dawson students. That is integrating healthy food options that would probably cost less to produce if we link the Dawson gardens products. The Dawson food gardens particularly is a very interesting way of building knowledge and skills of participating Dawson students. The food produced is Organic and little or no technology that could contaminate the production is used. Given Food sovereignty implies that the people in the locality obtain the power to make their own decisions, a food sovereign campus should put control in the hands of local food providers. An example to follow can be found at Concordia University. The Hive café is led by students, who surely do know their food needs more than corporations. Dawson college can follow the example of Concordia, and let Dawson college students to make decisions of what they will want to sell, produce and consume. This can be overseen by a board that can be created or related to the Dawson student Union (DSU). The combination of different initiatives that will value food more than just a commodity, but a sacred product, will lead to the establishment of a food sovereign institutions.
To conclude, it is important to recall that the root problem today in our food system today is the fact that “food is being treated as a commodity rather than a necessity of life” (Food sovereignty in Canada, 93). The best initiative on a campus that is not necessarily aware of the importance of the concept of food sovereignty, would be to put more and more of emphasis on the importance of healthy food consumption, and the competitiveness of prices comparatively to other food businesses around.
Wiebe, Nettie, Annette Aurélie. Desmarais, and Hannah Wittman. Food Sovereignty in Canada: Creating Just and Sustainable Food Systems. Halifax, N.S.: Fernwood Pub., 2011. Print.
Chevrier, Erik. “Concordia Student-Run Food Groups Research Project.” Erik Chevrier. N.p., 2016. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.
Gregory, P. J., J. S. I. Ingram, and M. Brklacich. “Climate Change and Food Security.” Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences 2005: 2139. JSTOR Journals. Web. 4 Dec. 2016.
Clive Dency Nya