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Reclaiming autonomous food systems: the role of local organizations in farming, environment and people's access to food

Michel Pimbert


Throughout the world, civil society and new social movements, - rather than academics or professional policy think tanks-, are the prime movers behind the development of a newly emerging food sovereignty policy framework. Agrarian reforms and gender equitable property rights are central within this alternative policy framework for food and agriculture: - secure access and control over land, water, forests, seeds and livestock breeds for smallholder farmers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and landless people. However, it is noteworthy that land reform and equitable property rights are seen as an integral part of a larger process designed to protect peoples' space, ability and right to define food and agricultural policies, as well as their own models of production, food distribution and consumption patterns. This is the notion of `Food Sovereignty',- which is perhaps best understood as a transformative process that seeks to recreate the democratic political realm and regenerate a diversity of autonomous food systems based on equity, social justice and ecological sustainability.

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How and under what conditions can decentralised governance, capacity building and participation by farmers promote food systems that adapt to changing conditions and climates and maintain agricultural biodiversity?

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Sustaining local food systems and agricultural biodiversity