How to reclaim our food commons?

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This presentation will explain what does it mean the food commons, or the consideration of food as a commons. Why is so necessary in these times of global crisis and how customary and contemporary food commons are knitting a web of viable alternatives to the dominant industrial food system.
  • 1. 1 JOSE LUIS VIVERO POL PhD Research Fellow in Food Governance How to re-claim our food commons? Meaningful food to crowd- feed the world
  • 2. 2 PRIMUM VIVERE DEINDE PHILOSOPHARE #1. Definitions and schools of thought on the common #3. The PARADOXES of the Global Food System #2. Defining FOOD AS A COMMONS: normative social c #4. How to scale up INNOVATIVE & CUSTOMARY food alternatives
  • 3. 3
  • 4. Commons are material / non-material resources, jointly developed and maintained by a community/society and shared according to community-defined rules, irrespective of their mode of production (private, public or commons-based means), because they benefit everyone and are fundamental to society’s wellbeing 4 Photo: ukhvlid, Creative Commons, Flickr
  • 5. 5 Economic School: reductionist + theoretical
  • 6. 6 25% of Galicia is onwed in communal property Private property Legal School
  • 8. Commodity Commons Culture Food dimensions Human Need Human Right Natural resource
  • 9. Food as a commodity mono-dimensional approach whereby economic dimension of food prevails and overshadows non-economic dimensions. Price (value-in-exchange) 9Photo: Dean Hochman, Flickr
  • 10. Food as a commons means revalorising different dimensions relevant to human beings (value-in use) & reducing the commodity dimension (value-in exchange) 10 Food commons are what a society does collectively, through private, state and self- regulated provision, to guarantee everybody eats adequately in quantity and quality everyday
  • 11. 11 Consideration of food as commodity is social construct that can / shall be reconceived WHY? Creative Commons
  • 12. 12 Food is essential for human life… … so access to food cannot be exclusively determined by the purchasing power
  • 13. 13 HUNGER IN THE US
  • 14. 14 If we could imagine a good food system, how would it be?
  • 15. 15
  • 16. 16 The paradoxe of the INDUSTRIAL FOOD SYSTEM Foto: Patty´s Flickr Creative Commons
  • 17. The food industry is the 2nd biggest: A BIG CAKE (10% GDP & 7 trillion USD in 2015)
  • 18. 18
  • 20. 20 EU Food Charity Non universal Non accountable Non demandable No right holders and duty bearers Money-restricted 3.8 Billion € in 7 years
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  • 22. 22 160 million chronically malnourished 19 million severely wasted children HUNGER is largest contributor (35%) to child mortality 1.4 BILLION OVERWEIGHT (300 MILLION OBESE) 2.3 BILLION MALNOURISHED PEOPLE – WE EAT BADLY
  • 23. 23 OBESITY
  • 24. 24 Food System Paradoxes FOOD PRODUCERS STAY HUNGRY 800 million hungry people, or more (SPI 2013) 70% are food producers FOOD KILLS PEOPLE Food-related diseases are a primary cause of death (6.5 M deaths per year). FOOD IS (INCREASINGLY) NOT FOR HUMANS 47% of food for human consumption, FOOD IS WASTED 1.3 billion tons end up in the garbage every year (1/3 of global food production) enough to feed 600 million hungry people. Foto: Fringe Hoj Flickr Creative Commons
  • 25. 25 Only the economic dimension Objectification & commodification of food, depriving & neglecting the other dimensions Every food has a price Maximizing profit not nutrition (value in exchange dissociated from value in use) Food is rival & excludable Economic concept VS political, legal and historical approaches Food access is the main problem Ample consensus in science & policy makers: access is limited by price, law & property
  • 26. 26 The actual way of producing, distributing and eating food is unsustainable and it cannot be maintained as a such for the next 50 years IAASTD (2008) UNEP (2009) UNCTAD (2013)UK Foresight (2011)
  • 27. 27 Planetary Boundaries Climate Change Oil Peak Radical change UK Gov IAASTD Business as usual Increase productivity Improve access
  • 28. 28 The TRANSITION towards a fairer & more sustainable food system needs a different narrative Recognizing & valuing the multiple dimensions of food = FOOD AS A COMMONS
  • 29. TRANSITION MOVEMENT Contemporary collective actions for food (urban consumers) Alter-hegemonic + gradual
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  • 31. MY OWN RESEARCH: Economic dimensions of food VS Non-economic dimensions Food Commodity Group Economic dimensions of food preferred over non-economic • Market-minded or for-profit sentences are preferred and economic dimensions are dominant. Food Commons Group Non-economic dimensions of food preferred over economic • Public-minded or not-for-profit sentences are preferred and/or not only economically sentences are selected. • This group has a predominantly multi- dimensional valuation of food whereby dimensions of food other than economic are also (equally or highly) valued.
  • 32. Field results (work in progress) Total dataset Global online Guatemala FNS Belgium FBG N=170 N=100 N=37 N=28 Mono-dimensional Economic dimensions are preferred Food as a commodity 20% 18% 35% 7% Multi-dimensional Non-economic dimensions are preferred Food as a commons 80% 82% 65% 93%
  • 33. 33 FOOD SOVEREIGNTY Mostly rural food producers (family farms), Valuing multiple dimensions (food is NOT a commons) Customary commons-based food systems Ideological counter-hegemomic struggle Foto:IanMackenzie Foto:F
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  • 35. 35 Food as a new old commons (innovative + historic) Sustainable agricultural practices (agro-ecology) Open-source knowledge (creative commons licenses) Polycentric governance (states, enterprises, civic actions)
  • 36. Social Market Enterprises Supply-demand Food as private good Public Private Collective actions Communities Reciprocity Food as common good Partner State Redistribution Citizens welfare Food as public good Tri-centric Governance of Food Commons Systems Incentives, subsidies, Enabling legal frameworks Limiting privatization of commons Farmers as civil servants Banning food speculation Minimum free food for all citizens Local purchase Rights-based Food banks
  • 37. Networks: discovering shared policy beliefs and goals
  • 38. Communities of practice: developing shared knowledge, social learning
  • 39. System of influence
  • 40. 40 Considering FOOD as a COMMONS may be utopical… But is the right thing to do and the best goal to aspire Eduardo Galeano Uruguayan writer and activist “Utopia lies at the horizon. When I draw nearer by two steps, it retreats two steps. No matter how far I go, I can never reach it. What, then, is the purpose of utopia? It is to cause us to advance.”
  • 41. 41 I am eager to exchange on food as a commons Many uncertainties & gaps remain to be develop in a common way combining praxis with normative social constructs @joselviveropol joseluisviveropol Jose Luis Vivero Pol
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