Today’s global food system generates hunger alongside of land grabs, food waste, health problems, massive greenhouse gas emissions. Nora McKeon’s new book explains why we find ourselves in this situation and explores what we can do to change it.
In her talk she will review how the international community (mis)handled food issues since WWII up to the food crisis of 2007-2008, privileging short term national or private interests over long-term public goals of equity and sustainability. She will contrast how actors link up in corporate global food chains – in which producers, consumers and the environment are the losers – and in the local food systems that are considered to be “alternative” but in fact feed most of the world’s population. She will explain how the financial and structural power of corporations, allied to discourse that portrays their approach to meeting the world’s food needs as “modern” and “productive”, allows them to set the rules to their advantage. She will point out the perils of “scientific evidence-based” decision-making when it intrudes on the terrain that properly belongs to political process and value-based debate.
Nora will describe how people around the world are organizing to protect their access to resources and build better ways of food provision, in what is increasingly referred to as a food sovereignty movement. The United Nations Committee on World Food Security – a uniquely inclusive global policy forum since its reform in 2009 – could be supportive of these efforts in pursuing its mandate to defend the right to food of the world’s population.
The talk will conclude with a call to blow the whistle on speculative capitalism by building effective public policy instruments for accountable governance and extending their authority to the realm of regulating markets and corporations.