Food Sovereignty and Seed Sovereignty directly relate to the nature of food and its integral connection to human rights, eco-system integrity, biodiversity and sustainability now and in the future. People and cultures have the right and responsibility to access nutritious food sources in order to maintain healthy lives. These rights and responsibilities are fundamental to human dignity, eco-justice and inter-generational concern. Food and Seed sovereignty are grounded in three fundamental principles:
The Right to Food: All peoples have a right to healthy, nutritious food, produced in an ecologically sustainable manner. This right is exercised in conjunction with the corresponding right to access, propagate, safeguard and conserve nature’s food sources in ways that respect biodiversity and the Global Commons.
The Global Commons: Earth’s food sources must remain accessible to all peoples and generations. They cannot be privatized or patented so as to become the restricted property of an individual, institution, organization or corporation. Food and seed sources are outside the bounds of proprietary ownership and market manipulation. Hence they are commonly held by the Earth Community as a whole and are governed by Earth Jurisprudence.
Earth Jurisprudence or Earth Law recognizes the Earth as the primary source of law which sets human law in a context greater than that of humanity. Human law-making should derive from the laws which govern Earth's life systems. Earth Law acknowledges that the good of the whole takes precedence over the good of the parts. Thus, the way we govern ourselves should be inspired by an ethical code of practice which requires us to respect Nature’s laws, always taking into account the well-being of the whole Earth Community and future generations of all species. Adapted from the GAIA Foundation (see http://www.gaiafoundation.org/earth-centred-law)
Based on the above, we can briefly describe Food Sovereignty and Seed Sovereignty as follows:
FOOD SOVEREIGNTY is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations. It defends the interests and inclusion of the next generation. It offers a strategy to resist and dismantle the current corporate trade and food regime, and directions for food, farming, pastoral and fisheries systems determined by local producers and users. Food sovereignty prioritizes local and national economies and markets and empowers peasant and family farmer-driven agriculture, artisanal-fishing, pastoralist-led grazing, and food production, distribution and consumption based on environmental, social and economic sustainability. Food sovereignty promotes transparent trade that guarantees just incomes to all peoples as well as the rights of consumers to control their food and nutrition. It ensures that the rights to use and manage lands, territories, waters, seeds, livestock and biodiversity are in the hands of those of us who produce food. Food sovereignty implies new social relations free of oppression and inequality between men and women, peoples, racial groups, social and economic classes and generations. From the Declaration of the Forum for Food Sovereignty, Nyéléni Village, Sélingué, Mali -- 27 March 2007 Nature’s food sources are part of the Global and Ecological Commons, integral to biodiversity, covered by Earth Jurisprudence, and cannot be patented
SEED SOVEREIGNTY is the fundamental right of all peoples and generations to grow, use, save, replant, breed, share, disseminate, exchange, barter and sell seeds. It includes the right of access to open-sourced seeds that are not genetically-modified or otherwise altered contrary to Nature’s own system. Seeds are part of the Global and Ecological Commons, integral to biodiversity, covered by Earth Jurisprudence, and cannot be patented.