Food access, food security, food justice, food sovereignty … what do they all mean, and why should I care?
Food security is defined by USAID and the World Health Organization to mean “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” Food security is about making sure everyone has food access.
Food access then refers to the options or lack thereof that people have when choosing what to eat. Food access might differ by family, neighborhood, country, or other grouping.
Food Justice goes beyond the statistics of food insecurity to ask why is food security lacking in certain communities, neighborhoods, populations, or countries, and what needs to change socially, politically, and environmentally in order for everyone to have food security.
Food Sovereignty goes beyond food justice to speak of a people’s or country’s right to culturally appropriate food and agriculture systems, as opposed to the foods and systems defined and imposed by larger market forces. From Via Campesina’s website:
Food sovereignty organizes food production and consumption according to the needs of local communities, giving priority to production for local consumption. Food sovereignty includes the right to protect and regulate the national agricultural and livestock production and to shield the domestic market from the dumping of agricultural surpluses and low-price imports from other countries. Landless people, peasants, and small farmers must get access to land, water, and seed as well as productive resources and adequate public services. Food sovereignty and sustainability are a higher priority than trade policies.
Looking for ways to get involved in food security, justice, and sovereignty in your community? Go to the Get Involved page and read all the way through. Add your own ideas by leaving a comment!