Video Explainer: What is Food Sovereignty?

We, La Via Campesina, are an international peasants’ movement who have come together with other allies from around the world to strengthen a global effort toward Food sovereignty. Our global movement brings together millions of peasants and small scale food producers comprising landless people, Indigenous Peoples, rural women and youth, migrants, pastoralists and other people working in rural areas worldwide.

As small-scale food producers, we feed 70% of the global population and are the custodians of ancestral wisdom handed down over thousands of generations. We hold the key to producing healthy and nutritious food in complete harmony with Mother Earth, at a time when it is threatened by neo-liberal capitalism that has spread hunger, conflict and global ecological destruction. That is why we have come together, to defend our diverse ways of life that exist in our rural areas, and protect our people’s food sovereignty.


Food Sovereignty is the right of people everywhere to produce food locally and sustainably through agroecological methods that respect the climatic, cultural and geographical context of each region. It places us at the heart of food systems, instead of powerful corporations, by building on the principles of solidarity, collectivity and social justice. Food Sovereignty defends our past, present and future generations, and is an alternative to a destructive and harmful industrial food system.It prioritises local trade and markets, which empower peasant agriculture, food production, distribution and consumption based on environmental, social and economic sustainability. It ensures our right to use and manage our own lands, territories, waters, seeds, livestock and biodiversity.Most importantly, Food Sovereignty gives us the power to preserve and grow our food producing knowledge and capacities worldwide.

So, what is our collective vision?

Together, we are fighting for a world where we:

• Recognise and respect the role of women in all decision-making bodies concerned with food production
• Value and respect our diversity, traditional knowledge and culture
• Conserve and rehabilitate rural environments, fish populations and landscapes.
• Reorganise food trade, where food is first and foremost a source of nutrition and only the surplus is traded based on principles of solidarity and cooperation.
• Determine our own food producing systems and policies that will provide each of us with healthy and affordable food as well as a living wage.
• Defend and recover our territories from predatory actions of transnational corporations, by guaranteeing us full rights to our land, and seas through genuine agrarian reform
• Give peasant families, especially women, access to productive land, to indigenous seeds, credit, farming technologies and ownership over their own knowledge.
• Make technology inclusive, in the service of humanity, and invest more in public research that recognizes farmers’ local knowledge and indigenous practises.
• Live and share our lands and territories peacefully, without fear of violent conflicts, forced displacement and confiscation of our lands.
• And finally, recognise and implement food sovereignty as a fundamental human right.

Over the last two decades, our idea of Food Sovereignty started to germinate and grow. Today, several institutions such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), social movements, civil society, trade unions and several national governments (including those of Nepal, Mali, Bolivia and Ecuador) endorse Food Sovereignty as a central pillar in policymaking around food and agriculture.

Despite these advances, the road ahead of us is a tough one. But the global COVID-19 pandemic has shown us once again that strong local economies are more resilient to shocks than previously thought. This is why we at La Via Campesina are committed to building a collective movement to achieve it through solidarity with peasants, wherever they may be. Now is the time for food sovereignty!

Also Read: Food Sovereignty, a Manifesto for the Future of Our Planet

(published in 2021 – to mark 25 years of our collective struggles for food sovereignty)