Published 04 July 2014
Can we make food systems that are underpinned by principles of democracy, social justice and inclusivity? What needs to happen?
In association with Sydney Ideas
Based on principles of democracy, social justice and inclusivity, the concept of food sovereignty has become strongly associated with a progressive agenda on food and agricultural issues. t is, in its purest form, a proposal for a radical social transformation. How viable is this proposal in challenging an increasingly industrialised food system controlled by agribusiness companies and driven by global trade agreements?
Dr. Alana Mann, Department of Media and Communications
Michael Croft, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
Amory Starr, alter-globalisation scholar
Alana Mann teaches media studies, public opinion and international relations in the BA(MECO), Masters of Strategic Public Relations and Bachelor of International and Global Studies. The focus of her research is political communication, specifically the engagement of non-state actors in international politics. She applies an interdisciplinary approach with a strong focus on democracy, social justice and citizenship that is reflected in her focus on the power relations between the media, governments, institutions and civil society actors in the field of food politics.
Her book Global Activism in Food Politics: Power Shift (2014) draws on grounded case studies of agrarian movements in countries including Chile, Mexico and Spain to theorise a diversity of counter-movement organising strategies and political alliances.
Dr Mann is a member of the University of Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) project node ‘Food, People and the Planet’ and also the global food security and nutrition node within the Charles Perkins Centre.
Her latest research project focuses on how competing discourses about food security within and between Australia and its trading partner nations inform policy-making, with the aim of evaluating how new models of inclusive governance are facilitating the emergence of alternative paradigms regarding the treatment of global hunger, poverty and malnutrition.
Michael Croft is a farmer, who operates a vertically integrated, value adding, field to fork operation, bridging the city-country divide in southern NSW.
Passionate about biological farming, diversity and resilient food systems, he walks the talk of triple bottom line, promoting eating as an agricultural and ecological act.
Michael is a director of several industry organisations, a leader in the Slow Food movement, national spokesperson for the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, and author.
In 2012 Michael graduated from the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. In June 2013 he represented AFSA at the 6th Global Conference of La Via Campesina in Jakarta. In October 2013 he travelled to Rome to participate as the Australasian civil society representative in global discussions on food governance at the Committee on World Food Security (UN Food and Agriculture Organisation); and in November 2013 travelled to Brazil to participated in the International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty.
Amory Starr‘s dissertation, Naming the Enemy: Anti-Corporate Movements Confront Globalization, was completed in 1998, more than a year before the Seattle WTO protests which brought Global Days of Action and anti-corporate/anti-Free Trade activism to international recognition. Later published by Zed Books, it is the first systematic survey of the political economic visions of the movements which would shortly converge into the anti-/alter-globalization movement. Her second book, Global Revolt: A Guide to Alterglobalization, is an introductory text, reviewing points of consensus, disagreements, and some of the tactics from the global struggle. (Zed Books, 2005) She also wrote and directed This is What Free Trade Looks Like, a 2004 documentary which examines México’s experience with NAFTA as a basis for understanding the WTO. Her most recent books are Out of Order: The Political Violence of Social Control in the Global Era (NYU Press, 2011) and Underground Restaurant: Local Food, Artisan Economics, Creative Political Culture (Pull Don’t Press, 2013). Her articles appear in Cultural Studies, Agriculture and Human Values, Journal of Social Movement Studies, Qualitative Sociology, Journal of World Systems Research, New Political Science, Social Justice, Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, Socialist Register, and Journal of Developing Societies. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a certificate in Permaculture from Bill Mollison. Amory was a street activist in the US alterglobalization movement from Seattle 1999, and in the anti-war and anti-biotech movements through 2005. In 1995, she created a course called “The Political Economy of Food”, which she taught annually until 2009. She has been faculty advisor to numerous student groups working for ecological agriculture education and direct procurement. In 2006 she started an underground restaurant as a way to build political community and culture around Slow Food and Food Sovereignty.