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OUR FOOD AS A
COMMONS
Reframing the food
narrative for a fair &
sustainable transition
Dr. Jose Luis Vivero-Pol
Right to Food Observatory, Spain
What is Food?
Essential for survival
(De Schutter & Pistor 2015)
Societal determinant (Ellul 1990)
Agent of power (Sumner 2011)
Commodity (Siegel et al. 2016)
Private Good (Samuelson 1954)
Public Good (Akram-Lodhi 2013)
Commons (Dalla Costa 2007)
Human Right (UN 1999)
Multiple meanings (Szymanski 2014)
Why food
narratives matter?
A NARRATIVE is a set of coherent
assumptions and principles to communicate
a certain worldview (Freibauer et al 2011)
NARRATIVES: a) Define Problems, b) Causal
relationships, c) Propose solutions, d) Moral
Valuations (Ferree & Merrill 2000)
People construct narratives
to persuade other people
Narratives become hegemonic
(Gramsci 1971, Foucault 1993, Wallerstein 2016)
1. Sustainable Intensification (science)
2. Green Growth (UN + Governments)
3. New Green Revolution (Corporate)
4. Climat-smart Agriculture (World Bank)
6. Green New Deal
Clash of Narratives
5. Food Sovereignty
5
If we waste one third of total food production AND
humanity is proyected to increased just 20%
(from 7.2 B in 2012 to 9 B in 2050),
why do we need to increase production by 50-70%?
Academia questioning the productivist narrative
“Loci of resistance” with
other food narratives
The way we value food (narrative) conditions the set
of policies, governing mechanisms and legal
frameworks to be proposed in transition pathways
1- Questioning “food as a
commodity”
2- Industrial food system
no longer valid for human
needs within planetary
boundaries
3- Alienation from food &
food systems
a.- Reconnecting
b.- Embeddednes
c.- Autonomy
d.- Collective actions
FOOD NARRATIVE 1
FROM FARM 2 FORK 2030
• Food is multi-dimensional & essential for humans
• Does not define food as a human right
• Goal: food systems that deliver sufficient, safe and
affordable food (…as a commodity)…while leaving
no one behind (no rights-based).
• PROFITABILITY as key word (not in education or
health)
• Citizens as CONSUMERS only (not food citizens /
eaters)
• No different types of agriculture (industrial food
system, small-scale farmers, agroecology)
FOOD NARRATIVE 2
The dominant narrative in
industrial food system
“FOOD IS A COMMODITY”
Market as the best
allocation mechanism
Low-cost Food System
• FOOD AS A COMMODITY pervades international negotiations
• Food is not valued as a human right in SDGs route map
• Adamant US position against Food as a human right
• Timid/dual EU position: supporting RtF for others, doing nothing at
home (Vivero-Pol & Schuftan, 2016)
• US/EU posit that markets are far more efficient than rights-based
schemes for food (purchasing power & charity guarantee access)
No Right to Food in EU
• NOT in European Social Charter (1961,
1996) for Council of Europe members
• NOT in EU Charter of Fundamental
Rights (2000)
• NOT in European Convention on
Human Rights (1950 + 7 protocols)
• NOT in any EU constitution
The Right to Food for “the others”
(Global South & Developing Countries)
• The Commission has
expressed its support to
‘right to food-based
political and legal
frameworks’ in
developing countries, as
well as establishing and
strengthening redressal
mechanisms
Source: Increasing the impact of EU
Development Policy: an agenda for change.
Communication from the Commission to the
Council and the European Parliament. COM
/2011/0637 Final. European Commission, 2011.
• The European Parliament
has taken a similar
position regarding the
relevance of the right to
food to address food
security challenges in
developing countries
Source: Assisting developing countries in
addressing food security challenges. Resolution of
27 September 2011, (2010/2100). European
Parliament, 2011.
16
The actual way of producing & eating
(western diets & industrial food system) is unsustainable
It cannot be maintained for the next 50 years
IAASTD (2008)
UNEP (2009) UNCTAD (2013)
UK Foresight (2011)
IPES FOOD (2016)
The 8 food dimensions relevant to humans:
multi-dimensional food as commons VS mono-dimensional food as commodity
18
COMMONS
Goods (material + immaterial) which are jointly developed by a
community and shared according to community-defined rules
(commoning) for the common good (Kostakis & Bauwens 2014)
Food as a commons
means revalorising
different dimensions
relevant to human beings
(value-in use) & reducing
the commodity dimension
(value-in exchange)
19
20
Framing food differently will
unlock unpermitted food
policies…
…and mobilise public funds for
unfunded alternatives
(customary & contemporary
food commons)
ALTERNATIVE FOOD
INITIATIVES
Contemporary food
commons
(collective actions)
22
Customary Food
Commons (territories)
5% of Europe
(12 M Ha agricultural area)
More in coastal/forested areas
9% France
25% of Galicia is
onwed in communal
property
Not just private-state
duopoly
“Agroecology as the
compass”
How to go? What to do?
“Food as human right
and commons is the
value-based narrative
that holds the compass”
Where to? Why?
23
24
Reframing FOOD as a COMMONS and
HUMAN RIGHT is already ongoing…
John Maynard Keynes
British economist (1883-1946)
“The difficulty lies not so much in
developing new ideas as in escaping from
old ones”
Marcel Proust
French writer (1871-1922)
“The real voyage of discovery consists
not in seeking new lands, but in seeing
with new eyes”
POLICY & LEGAL
OPTIONS with other
narrative of Food
25
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
More Incentives &
subsidies to
collective actions
Farmers as civil
servants
Banning food
speculation
Minimum free food
for all citizens
Local purchase
Rights-based Food
banks
To guarantee school
meals for all students in
public schools
27
To support local purchase
(small farming, agro-
ecology & cooperatives) to
satisfy food needs of
municipal premises
28
Stricter & innovative rules to
avoid food waste
To recycle all expired food (i.e. France)
Supporting citizens´ collective actions to
reduced waste,
promote food sharing
and co-producing
29
Shifting from charitable food
(Food Banks) to food as right
(Universal Food Coverage)
A food bank network that is
universal, accountable, compulsory
and not voluntary, random, targeted
30
Compulsory rooftop
greening for every new
building
(with edibles, non-edibles)
31
Establishing bakeries
where every citizen
can get access to a
bread loaf every day
(if needed or willing to)
32
Encourage Food Policy
Councils (open membership
to citizens) through
participatory democracies,
financial seed capital and
enabling laws33
Set target for food provisioning in
2030
(Food Council)
• 60% private sector
• 25% self-production (collective
actions)
• 15% state-provisioning (public
buildings, destitute people,
unemployed families) through
Universal Food Coverage
34
Communication by EP
considering Nature and
natural resources as
Commons
35
Territories of Commons as
legitimate alternatives:
- Collective property
(common lands) as
recognized legal category
- Commoning as valid
governing mechanism
36
Food
Commons &
Agroecology
are
alternative
pathways
(people are
opting for) 37
Territories of
Commons
• Climate adapted Food
commons
• Stewarding Nature &
Biodiversity
• Nurturing community,
citizenship & values
• Intergenerational
sustainability
• Public goods & services
(oxygen, soil, wáter)
• Participatory Governing
Systems
• Cultural Heritage &
Collective Knowledge
Agro-ecology
Climate Cooling
Socially resilient
39
40
Davis & Dixon (2012)
Circa 3000 yrs exploited
as a commons…
Wether Hills,
Northumberland (UK)
Montes Veciñais
en man común
Intergenerational sustainability,
collective values, renewable
energy (Galicia, Spain)
http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/noticia/carballo/corcubion/2016/04/13/pleitos-montes-comunales-
comarca-acumulan-anos-espera/0003_201604C13C1991.htm
La Partecipanza Agraria de Nonantola
• Collective Ownership of Agricultural Land in
Emilia Romagna
• Almost 1000 years: Carta del 1058 dell’Abate
Gotescalco, granting inhabitants of Nonantola the
user´s rights over arable land within the
municipal territory (now, 760 hectare)
• Guiding values: Solidarity, Respect, Identity,
Equality.
• “Boccas” are raffled every 18 years within
descendents still inhabiting Nonantola.
Cloughjordan
Ecovillage
Collective housing, nurturing
community, sharing, cooperation
(Ireland)
44
In ARAGON (Autonomous Region)
300,000 ha governed by local
communities & customary
institutions
TERRITORIES of COMMONS
Allemansrätten
(The Everyman’s right)
you can walk, run, hike, camp,
swim, pick berries or
mushrooms anywhere in
privately owned and public land
Hazas de
la Suerte
Vejer de la Frontera
(Spain)
Two entitlements:
cultivate & benefit
Established 1288 by
King Sancho IV
3500 hectare, 232
allotments, 13,000
inhabitants (raffles
yrs per generations)
Croft lands
(Scotland)
http://www.c
rofting.org/a
boutus
Baldios
(Portugal)
Cloughjordan
Ecovillage
(Ireland)
Water Tribunal of
Valencia Huertas
(one of oldest juridical institutions)
51
Universita Agraria
Medieval institution to govern
collective lands (Sacrofano, Italy)
Transition
Towns
Resilience, cooperation,
sustainability, fairness
(UK, Europe, USA, Aust)
56
Eager to exchange on food as a commons
Many uncertainties & gaps remain to be
developed in a common way combining
praxis with normative social constructs
@joselviveropol
joseluisviveropol
http://hambreyderechoshumanos.blogspot.com
http://hungerpolitics.wordpress.com
Jose Luis Vivero Pol
joseluisvivero@gmail.com

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OUR FOOD AS A COMMONS: Reframing the food narrative for a fair & sustainable transition

  • 1. OUR FOOD AS A COMMONS Reframing the food narrative for a fair & sustainable transition Dr. Jose Luis Vivero-Pol Right to Food Observatory, Spain
  • 2. What is Food? Essential for survival (De Schutter & Pistor 2015) Societal determinant (Ellul 1990) Agent of power (Sumner 2011) Commodity (Siegel et al. 2016) Private Good (Samuelson 1954) Public Good (Akram-Lodhi 2013) Commons (Dalla Costa 2007) Human Right (UN 1999) Multiple meanings (Szymanski 2014)
  • 3. Why food narratives matter? A NARRATIVE is a set of coherent assumptions and principles to communicate a certain worldview (Freibauer et al 2011) NARRATIVES: a) Define Problems, b) Causal relationships, c) Propose solutions, d) Moral Valuations (Ferree & Merrill 2000) People construct narratives to persuade other people Narratives become hegemonic (Gramsci 1971, Foucault 1993, Wallerstein 2016)
  • 4. 1. Sustainable Intensification (science) 2. Green Growth (UN + Governments) 3. New Green Revolution (Corporate) 4. Climat-smart Agriculture (World Bank) 6. Green New Deal Clash of Narratives 5. Food Sovereignty
  • 5. 5
  • 6. If we waste one third of total food production AND humanity is proyected to increased just 20% (from 7.2 B in 2012 to 9 B in 2050), why do we need to increase production by 50-70%? Academia questioning the productivist narrative
  • 7. “Loci of resistance” with other food narratives
  • 8. The way we value food (narrative) conditions the set of policies, governing mechanisms and legal frameworks to be proposed in transition pathways
  • 9. 1- Questioning “food as a commodity” 2- Industrial food system no longer valid for human needs within planetary boundaries 3- Alienation from food & food systems a.- Reconnecting b.- Embeddednes c.- Autonomy d.- Collective actions FOOD NARRATIVE 1
  • 10. FROM FARM 2 FORK 2030 • Food is multi-dimensional & essential for humans • Does not define food as a human right • Goal: food systems that deliver sufficient, safe and affordable food (…as a commodity)…while leaving no one behind (no rights-based). • PROFITABILITY as key word (not in education or health) • Citizens as CONSUMERS only (not food citizens / eaters) • No different types of agriculture (industrial food system, small-scale farmers, agroecology) FOOD NARRATIVE 2
  • 11. The dominant narrative in industrial food system “FOOD IS A COMMODITY” Market as the best allocation mechanism Low-cost Food System
  • 12. • FOOD AS A COMMODITY pervades international negotiations • Food is not valued as a human right in SDGs route map • Adamant US position against Food as a human right • Timid/dual EU position: supporting RtF for others, doing nothing at home (Vivero-Pol & Schuftan, 2016) • US/EU posit that markets are far more efficient than rights-based schemes for food (purchasing power & charity guarantee access)
  • 13. No Right to Food in EU • NOT in European Social Charter (1961, 1996) for Council of Europe members • NOT in EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (2000) • NOT in European Convention on Human Rights (1950 + 7 protocols) • NOT in any EU constitution
  • 14. The Right to Food for “the others” (Global South & Developing Countries) • The Commission has expressed its support to ‘right to food-based political and legal frameworks’ in developing countries, as well as establishing and strengthening redressal mechanisms Source: Increasing the impact of EU Development Policy: an agenda for change. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. COM /2011/0637 Final. European Commission, 2011. • The European Parliament has taken a similar position regarding the relevance of the right to food to address food security challenges in developing countries Source: Assisting developing countries in addressing food security challenges. Resolution of 27 September 2011, (2010/2100). European Parliament, 2011.
  • 15.
  • 16. 16 The actual way of producing & eating (western diets & industrial food system) is unsustainable It cannot be maintained for the next 50 years IAASTD (2008) UNEP (2009) UNCTAD (2013) UK Foresight (2011) IPES FOOD (2016)
  • 17. The 8 food dimensions relevant to humans: multi-dimensional food as commons VS mono-dimensional food as commodity
  • 18. 18 COMMONS Goods (material + immaterial) which are jointly developed by a community and shared according to community-defined rules (commoning) for the common good (Kostakis & Bauwens 2014)
  • 19. Food as a commons means revalorising different dimensions relevant to human beings (value-in use) & reducing the commodity dimension (value-in exchange) 19
  • 20. 20 Framing food differently will unlock unpermitted food policies… …and mobilise public funds for unfunded alternatives (customary & contemporary food commons)
  • 22. 22 Customary Food Commons (territories) 5% of Europe (12 M Ha agricultural area) More in coastal/forested areas 9% France 25% of Galicia is onwed in communal property Not just private-state duopoly
  • 23. “Agroecology as the compass” How to go? What to do? “Food as human right and commons is the value-based narrative that holds the compass” Where to? Why? 23
  • 24. 24 Reframing FOOD as a COMMONS and HUMAN RIGHT is already ongoing… John Maynard Keynes British economist (1883-1946) “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones” Marcel Proust French writer (1871-1922) “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes”
  • 25. POLICY & LEGAL OPTIONS with other narrative of Food 25
  • 26. 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 More Incentives & subsidies to collective actions Farmers as civil servants Banning food speculation Minimum free food for all citizens Local purchase Rights-based Food banks
  • 27. To guarantee school meals for all students in public schools 27
  • 28. To support local purchase (small farming, agro- ecology & cooperatives) to satisfy food needs of municipal premises 28
  • 29. Stricter & innovative rules to avoid food waste To recycle all expired food (i.e. France) Supporting citizens´ collective actions to reduced waste, promote food sharing and co-producing 29
  • 30. Shifting from charitable food (Food Banks) to food as right (Universal Food Coverage) A food bank network that is universal, accountable, compulsory and not voluntary, random, targeted 30
  • 31. Compulsory rooftop greening for every new building (with edibles, non-edibles) 31
  • 32. Establishing bakeries where every citizen can get access to a bread loaf every day (if needed or willing to) 32
  • 33. Encourage Food Policy Councils (open membership to citizens) through participatory democracies, financial seed capital and enabling laws33
  • 34. Set target for food provisioning in 2030 (Food Council) • 60% private sector • 25% self-production (collective actions) • 15% state-provisioning (public buildings, destitute people, unemployed families) through Universal Food Coverage 34
  • 35. Communication by EP considering Nature and natural resources as Commons 35
  • 36. Territories of Commons as legitimate alternatives: - Collective property (common lands) as recognized legal category - Commoning as valid governing mechanism 36
  • 38. Territories of Commons • Climate adapted Food commons • Stewarding Nature & Biodiversity • Nurturing community, citizenship & values • Intergenerational sustainability • Public goods & services (oxygen, soil, wáter) • Participatory Governing Systems • Cultural Heritage & Collective Knowledge
  • 40. 40 Davis & Dixon (2012) Circa 3000 yrs exploited as a commons… Wether Hills, Northumberland (UK)
  • 41. Montes Veciñais en man común Intergenerational sustainability, collective values, renewable energy (Galicia, Spain) http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/noticia/carballo/corcubion/2016/04/13/pleitos-montes-comunales- comarca-acumulan-anos-espera/0003_201604C13C1991.htm
  • 42. La Partecipanza Agraria de Nonantola • Collective Ownership of Agricultural Land in Emilia Romagna • Almost 1000 years: Carta del 1058 dell’Abate Gotescalco, granting inhabitants of Nonantola the user´s rights over arable land within the municipal territory (now, 760 hectare) • Guiding values: Solidarity, Respect, Identity, Equality. • “Boccas” are raffled every 18 years within descendents still inhabiting Nonantola.
  • 44. 44 In ARAGON (Autonomous Region) 300,000 ha governed by local communities & customary institutions TERRITORIES of COMMONS
  • 45. Allemansrätten (The Everyman’s right) you can walk, run, hike, camp, swim, pick berries or mushrooms anywhere in privately owned and public land
  • 46. Hazas de la Suerte Vejer de la Frontera (Spain) Two entitlements: cultivate & benefit Established 1288 by King Sancho IV 3500 hectare, 232 allotments, 13,000 inhabitants (raffles yrs per generations)
  • 50. Water Tribunal of Valencia Huertas (one of oldest juridical institutions)
  • 51. 51 Universita Agraria Medieval institution to govern collective lands (Sacrofano, Italy)
  • 53.
  • 54.
  • 55.
  • 56. 56 Eager to exchange on food as a commons Many uncertainties & gaps remain to be developed in a common way combining praxis with normative social constructs @joselviveropol joseluisviveropol http://hambreyderechoshumanos.blogspot.com http://hungerpolitics.wordpress.com Jose Luis Vivero Pol joseluisvivero@gmail.com