Food Sovereignty

Groundswell’s day-to-day work is helping people become successful small-scale farmers and homestead food producers. In the bigger picture, Groundswell is helping to build “food sovereignty” in the Finger Lakes.

What is Food Sovereignty?

The US Food Sovereignty Alliance defines food sovereignty as “the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture policies; the democratization of food and agriculture.” Food sovereignty goes well beyond supporting local foods and healthy diets. It asserts that communities 
power in the food system by rebuilding the relationships between people and the land, between food providers and eaters.
  And it draws attention to the structural and policy changes needed to support sustainable, equitable and democratic food systems.

“Big Food” Industry

Our modern food system in the United States was built around the principles of industrialization. Under this system, producers who are able to maximize profits (and/or buy political influence) control the market; small producers are driven out of business; the system is controlled by corporations that answer to shareholders, not the public.

As we have seen in recent years, Big Food is making record profits, even as more and more people struggle to feed their families, family farmers struggle to stay on their land, and globally, peasants and indigenous communities struggle against land grabs that threaten their livelihoods and even their lives.

Equitable Food Systems

While corporations and governments profit from top-down, market-driven policy approaches, food sovereignty focuses on the rights of people and communities to control their own food system.  This means restructuring the way we produce, market, and consume food to support local alternatives to industrial food.  It means food should be seen as a human right. It means training a new generation of food producers and food consumers to support strong local and regional food systems. And it means paying attention to the policies and institutional structures needed to democratize food.

Race, Sovereignty and Empowerment

Why is the Good Food Movement so White? Is it so White?  Listen to leaders of color talk their experiences as food system activists and scholars. Brought to us by the North American Food Systems Network.


Think Global, Act Local

The Groundswell Center is just one small part of this world-wide movement. If you’d like to support food sovereignty for the Finger Lakes/Central New York region, we hope you will become a Groundswell Member and/or make a donation to Groundswell.