Food sovereignty and right to food


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This lecture explores food sovereignty and the right to food. It also looks at country foods and regulation by Health Canada of country foods. The impact of climate change on subsistence hunting and fishing and gathering for indigenous people in Canada.

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Food sovereignty and right to food

  1. 1. Presents an alternative to existing system dominated by large scale, high input production and liberal/global trade. Draws attention to tensions between corporate, global and local systems. Emphasizes the importance of human and social dimensions. Grass roots movement seeking solutions to poverty and hunger. Broad constituency: indigenous peoples, rural landless, small holder farmers in rich and poor countries.
  2. 2. Against: large scale, capital intensive, high input, industrial production and liberal/global trade, that harms environment. For: Community-controlled, small-scale agroproduction and research Q: Can low input systems ensure local and global food security? Q: Is proposed system more environmentally sustainable than existing system?
  3. 3. The Three Sisters Using the companion planting technique, the three crops are planted close together and benefit each other. - Maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. -Beans fixes nitrogen to the soil for other plants. -Squash covers the ground to prevent weeds by monopolizing the sunlight and acts as a "living mulch," creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Photocredit:
  4. 4. Food, either plant or animal, that is harvested from local environment and is culturally accepted (Receveur, Boulay & Kuhnlein, 1997). Geographically and culturally specific food often applied to Aboriginal people but has international use for both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples (Kuhlein, Receveur, Soueida & Egeland, 2004).
  5. 5. Country foods are the product of a social system and spiritual relations connected with being on the land and hunting, representing far more than a meal, but rather a healthy culture (Usher et al, 1995). Among Aboriginal peoples of the Canadian North, the integration of the body (i.e., physical activity and functionality of the human body), and the soul (i.e., spirit, mind, emotional state or even the expression of consciousness) (Borre, 1994) is accomplished through capturing, sharing and consuming country foods.
  6. 6. “Inuit foods give us health, well-being and identity. Inuit foods are our way of life... Total health includes spiritual well-being. For us to be fully healthy, we must have our foods, recognizing the benefits they bring. Contaminants do not affect our souls. Avoiding our food from fear does” (Edge, 1995, 2)
  7. 7. Health Canada, 2010
  8. 8. Source: Health Canada, 2010 Source: Health Canada, 2010
  9. 9. Key elements:
  10. 10. “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself & of his family…including food…” ---The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  11. 11. “…In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.” -- Article 1 in Common, International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Rio Yaqui, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Alex Sando. Social and Cultural Rights
  12. 12. “…for Indigenous Peoples, the rights to land, water, and territory, as well as the right to self- determination, are essential for the full realization of our Food Security and Food Sovereignty.” --The Declaration of Atitlan, Guatemala, 2002. Indigenous peoples’ consultation on the right to food.
  13. 13. “Our ancestors in some areas have secured our traditional ways and food systems in Treaties. These international agreements were signed for “so long as the grass grows, the rivers flow and the sun shines” . --- Chief Wilton Littlechild, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Treaty No. 6 Territory, Canada, addressing the United Nations World Food Summit, Rome, November 1996 “The Privilege of hunting, fishing, and gathering the wild rice upon the lands the rivers and the lakes including in the territory ceded, is guaranteed to the Indians” ---1837 US Treaty with the Chippewa Nation “The exclusive right of taking fish in all the streams, where running through or bordering said reservation, is further secured to said confederated tribes and bands of Indians” - ---1855 US Treaty with the Yakima Nation
  14. 14. Photo Credit: The Archives of Manitoba
  15. 15. R. v. Marshall [1999] 3 SCR, 456 (http:// 1 h The September 17, 1999 pub/1999/vol3/html/ Acquittal 1999scr3_0456.html) R. v. Marshall [1999] 3 SCR, 533 1 (Rehearing and Stay of Implementation) The Court acquitted Marshall of ( h charges arising out of catching scc/en/pub/1999/vol3/html/ 463 pounds of eel and selling 1999scr3_0533.html) them for $787.10. Indians -- Treaty rights -- Fishing rights -- Accused, a Mi'kmaq Indian, The acquittal was based on a fishing with prohibited net during close treaty made with the British in period and selling fish caught without a 1760 that permits the Mi’kmaq licence in violation of federal fishery community to work for a living regulations -- Whether accused through continuing access to possessed treaty right to catch and sell fish that exempted him from fish and wildlife to trade for compliance with regulations -- Mi'kmaq “necessaries”, which a majority Treaties of 1760-61 -- Maritime of the Court interpreted as Provinces Fishery Regulations, SOR/ “food, clothing and housing, 93-55, ss. 4(1)(a), 20 -- Fishery supplemented by a few (General) Regulations, SOR/92-53, s. amenities”. 35(2).
  16. 16. With regard to the exercise of cultural rights protected under Article 27, the committee observes that culture manifests itself in many forms, including a particular way of life associated with the use of land resources, especially in the case of Indigenous peoples. That right may include such traditional activities such as fishing or hunting or the right to live in reserves protected by law. The enjoyment of those rights may require positive legal measures of protection and measures to ensure the effective participation of members of minority communities in decisions that affect them. ICCPR, Comment 23.
  17. 17. History is Made for Indigenous Peoples: UN General Assembly Adopts the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Photocredit: UN News Service Photo Geneva, 1977 New York September 13th, 2007
  18. 18. The Right to Food for Indigenous Peoples is a collective right Based on our special spiritual relationship with Mother Earth Based on our lands and territories, environment, and natural resources that provide our traditional nutrition Nourishes our cultures, languages, social life, worldview and relationship with Mother Earth; The denial of the Right to Food denies us our physical survival, social organization, cultures, traditions, languages, spirituality, sovereignty, and total identity; The denial of the Right to Food it is a denial of our collective indigenous existence” -- The “Declaration of Atitlan” 1st Indigenous Peoples’ Global Consultation on the Right to Food and Food Sovereignty, Guatemala, 2002
  19. 19. What kinds of food are available in your community? Who decides what foods are available in your community? Who decides what you eat? Who decides what is grown in your community? Do people in your community rely on others to provide their food? Is food healthy? What role does government play? ETC…
  20. 20. • Article 3 - Right to Self-Determination • Article 8 - Right to not be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of culture • Article 10 – Right to not be forcibly relocated from lands and territories • Article 20 - Right to be secure in subsistence and development • Article 24 - Right to health and conservation of vital plants and animals • Article 26 – Right to traditional lands, territories and resources • Article 29 - Right to conservation and protection of environment and productive capacity of lands, territories and resources • Article 31 - Right to maintain, control, protect and develop cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions including genetic resources, seeds and medicines • Article 32 - Right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for development including the right to free, prior and informed consent • Article 37 – Treaty Rights
  21. 21. Continued practice of ceremonies, dances, prayers, songs and stories and other cultural traditions related to the use of traditional foods and subsistence practices. Adaptability, resilience, resistance and/or restoration of traditional food use and production in response to changing conditions. (indicator areas 4 & 10, “Cultural Indicators for Food Security, Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Development”) Traditional Prayer Stick guards the crops Rio Yaqui, Sonora Mexico photo by Alex Sando
  22. 22. “The polar regions are now experiencing some of the most rapid and severe climate change on earth…Indigenous peoples, their culture and the whole ecosystem that they interact with is very much dependent on the cold and the extreme physical conditions of the Arctic region. Indigenous peoples depend on hunting for polar bears, walrus, seals and caribou, herding reindeer, fishing and gathering not only for food to support the local economy, but also as the basis for their cultural and social identity” -- “CLIMATE CHANGE, AN OVERVIEW”
  23. 23. “Pacific Islands such as Tuvalu are sinking and the coast is eroding. On other islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean, food security is threatened by soil erosion and an accelerated disappearance of the rain forests.” -- Oral Intervention, UNPFII7, April 2008 Palua
  24. 24. “In the tropical rainforests of Asia, temperatures are expected to rise 2-8 degree Celcius and further climatic variation will include decrease in rainfall, crop failures and forest fires. Tropical rainforests are the haven for biodiversity, as well as indigenous peoples’ cultural diversity and forest fires will threaten this heritage of biodiversity” Traditional Rice terraces, Philippines photo courtesy of Tebtebba -- “CLIMATE CHANGE, AN OVERVIEW”, November, 2007 Secretariat, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
  25. 25. Photo courtesy of Tebtebba Photo Courtesy of Ben Powless “As their traditional resource base diminishes, the traditional practices of cattle and goat farming will no longer survive. There are already areas where indigenous peoples are forced to live around government drilled bores for water and depend on government support for their survival. Food security is a major issue for indigenous peoples residing in the deserts and they are on the frontline of global climate change.” -- “CLIMATE CHANGE, AN OVERVIEW”, UNPFII