Food Sovereignty

Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community

Edited by Annette Aurélie Desmarais, Nettie Wiebe and Hannah Wittman  

Paperback $24.95

Advocating a practical, radical change to the way much of our food system currently operates, this book argues that food sovereignty is the means to achieving a system that will provide for the food needs of all people while respecting the principles of environmental sustainability, local empowerment and agrarian citizenship. The current high input, industrialized, market-driven food system fails on all these counts. The UN-endorsed goal of food security is becoming increasingly distant as indicated by the growing levels of hunger in the world, especially among marginalized populations in both the North and South. The authors of this book describe the recent emergence and the parameters of an alternative system, food sovereignty, that puts the levers of food control in the hands of those who are both hungry and produce the world’s food - peasants and family farmers, not corporate executives. As the authors show in both conceptual and case study terms, food sovereignty promises not only increased production of food, but also food that is safe, food that reaches those who are in the most need, and agricultural practises that respect the earth.

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  • Seeing like a peasant: the origins of food sovereignty (Hannah Wittman, Annette Desmarais and Nettie Wiebe)
  • Capitalist Agriculture, the Food Price Crisis and Peasant Resistance (Walden Bello and Mara Baviera)
  • The Practice of Food Sovereignty: Voices from La Via Campesina (Itelvina Masioli and Paul Nicholson)
  • Section One: Roots of the Crisis
  • Drawing Forth the Force that Slumbered in Peasants’ Arms: The Economist, High Agriculture and Selling Capitalism (Jim Handy and Carla Fehr)
  • Framing Resistance: International Food regimes and the roots of food sovereignty (Madeleine Fairbairn)
  • Agrofuels and Food Sovereignty: Another Agrarian Transition (Eric Holt-Giménez and Annie Shattuck)
  • Section Two: Agrarian Citizenship: Revaluing Land and the Environment
  • Reconnecting agriculture and the environment: food sovereignty and the agrarian basis of ecological citizenship (Hannah Wittman)
  • Food Sovereignty and Redistributive land policies: Exploring Linkages, Identifying Challenges (Saturnino M. Borras and Jennifer Franco)
  • Scaling up agroecological approaches for food sovereignty in Latin America (Miguel Altieri)
  • Section Three: Seeds: The Essential Means of Production
  • Seed Sovereignty: Unearthing the Cultural and Material Struggles over Seed in Malawi (Rachel Bezner Kerr)
  • Seed Sovereignty: The Promise of Open Source Biology (Jack Kloppenburg)
  • Section Four: Food Sovereignty: Concepts and Practice
  • Food Sovereignty in Movement: Addressing the Triple Crisis (Philip McMichael)
  • What does food sovereignty look like? (Rajeev Patel)


  • Annette Aurélie Desmarais

    Annette Aurelie Desmarais was a farmer for 14 years. She has a MA in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex and received a PhD in Geography from the University of Calgary. She is currently Associate Professor in the International Studies Program at the University of Regina. Her key areas of research are food sovereignty, globalization and agrarian change, rural social movements and social justice, development theory and practice, gender and international development. She is currently involved in on-going research with the international peasant and farm movement, La Vía Campesina.

    Annette’s book La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants was nominated for the Chadwick F. Alger Award and the Lionel Gelber Prize; it has been published in French, Spanish and Italian. She was awarded the Eric Wolf Prize by the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS) for the article entitled “The Vía Campesina: Consolidating an International Peasant and Farm Movement.”

    Annette is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Journal of Peasant Studies and the Editorial Board of Human Geography. She is a Research Associate with the Centro de Estudios para el Cambio en el Campo Mexicano (CECCAM), Mexico City. Annette is also on the Advisory Committee of the Centre Europe - Tiers Monde (CETIM, Geneva) and the Resource Rights Advisory Committee-Grassroots International Resource Rights for All, and is an Advisor to the International Programme Committee of the National Farmers Union.

  • Nettie Wiebe

    St. Andrew’s College

    Nettie Wiebe is an organic farmer and professor of ethics at St. Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan. She was Women’s President of the National Farmers Union and then served four years as the President of the NFU - the first and only woman to have led a national farmers’ organization in Canada - as well as a member of La Via Campesina’s International Coordinating Commission (ICC). She is actively involved in local and national politics in Canada, and her research focuses on agrarian feminism and the intersection of environmental, agricultural and women’s issues in rural communities.

  • Hannah Wittman

    Simon Fraser University

    Hannah Wittman is an assistant professor of sociology and Latin American studies at Simon Fraser Univeristy. She conducts collaborative research on local food systems, farmer networks and agrarian citizenship in British Columbia, and in Latin America with Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) and La Via Campesina. Her research interests are in environmental sociology, agrarian citizenship and agrarian social movements.

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