Antonio Onorati, President of Crocevia, an Italian non-governmental organization, and member of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), came to the class of the Master in Food Studies to talk about food sovereignty and the rights of farmers. The IPC is an autonomous and self-organized global platform of small-scale food producers, rural workers organizations and grass root/community based social movements that are committed to advancing the Food Sovereignty agenda at the global and regional level.

Mr. Onorati explained that food sovereignty is the right of the people to determine how they grow, distribute and eat food within a given area. Around the world, small-scale famers and food producers are often marginalized in the face of the globalization of food and political underrepresentation. The IPC works with small scale actors to help them organize and collectively lobby on issues pertaining to small scale farming and fishing.

The IPC looks to implement a small-scale approach to farming that involves the participation of small-scale farmers and the recognition of land rights of poor and indigenous farmers. The IPC believes that the knowledge of the poor and indigenous farmers can help with biodiversity and help maintain food security. In contrast, they feel large multi-national corporations put the system at risk, because of their vulnerability to political shifts and their contribution to environmental degradation. Disruptions like war and climate change can put the whole system at risk when it is controlled by a few large stakeholders. For IPC, this is what makes food sovereignty so imperative for global food security.

For AUR students, this lecture explored the intersection between the politics of food production and the rights of the farmers around the world. Mr. Onorati’s passion for farmers’ rights and food sovereignty is strong, and as a result, he forced the students to think – what will the future of food be? Local or global? Small-scale or large-scale? Author: Rick Randel, Graduate Student Assistant