NEW BOOK: Food Security Governance: empowering communities, regulating corporations by Nora McKeon

A new and exciting book about food security governance is out and it is a MUST READ.  I have just received my copy and will follow up with a more detailed review but in the mean time, check out the summary and the reviews:

Today’s global food system generates hunger alongside of land grabs, food waste, health problems, massive greenhouse gas emissions. Nora McKeon’s just-released book explains why we find ourselves in this situation and explores what we can do to change it. It opens with a brief review of how the international community (mis)managed food issues from WWII up to the time of the food price crisis of 2007-2008. It moves on to contrast the ways in which actors link up in corporate global food chains as compared to the local food webs that we think of as “alternative” but in fact feed most of the world’s population. It unpacks relevant paradigms – from productivism to food security and food sovereignty – and points out the perils of “scientific evidence-based” decision-making when it intrudes on the terrain that properly belongs to political process and value-based debate. The author highlights the significance of adopting a rights-based approach to solving food problems whereby adequate food is not simply a desirable outcome but an inalienable right that governments are obliged to ensure for their citizens. She describes how people around the world are organizing to protect their access to resources and build better ways of food provision and governance from the bottom up, in what is increasingly referred to as a food sovereignty movement. She discusses how the Committee on World Food Security – a uniquely inclusive global policy forum since its reform in 2009 – could be supportive of these efforts. The book concludes with a call to blow the whistle on speculative capitalism by building effective public policy instruments for accountable governance and extending their authority to the realm of regulating markets and corporations.

To obtain a 20% discount visit the book’s page on the Routledge website  www.routledge.com/9780415529105 and enter the code FDC20 at check-out.

‘Nora McKeon does a superb job at describing how governments have allowed markets and corporations to take control of food systems, and which tools could be used to provide healthier diets, ensure greater resilience, and empower communities.’– Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
 
‘At such an uncertain time in global food provisioning, Nora McKeon’s book offers an exceptional perspective… a lively account of food system crisis, competing paradigms and new questions of governance in an accessible and forward-looking analysis.’ –Philip McMichael, Cornell University, USA
 
‘This book is an overdue account of the fight over reform. It is a fine reminder that food democracy is the key to feeding everyone equitably, healthily, affordably and sustainably.’ – Tim Lang, City University, London, UK
 
‘..a wonderfully readable account of the world food crisis, distinguished by its grounded faith in the capacity of organizations – of people and governments – to prevent future hunger.’– Raj Patel, Research fellow at UCB and author of Stuffed and Starved, and The Value of Nothing
 
‘Nora McKeon understands the Byzantine world of global food politics better than anyone I know …. Everyone fighting for Food Sovereignty has to read this book.’ –Pat Mooney, ETC Group
 
‘Brilliant! An eye-opening tour of the march to democratize global food governance… A must-read for all who want to go beyond competing “issues” to governance itself — and real solutions.’ — Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet
 
‘A must-read for food activists seeking to go beyond slogans, techno-administrative fixes or business as usual into the realm of active, popular democracy.’ — Eric Holt-Giménez, Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy
 

Survey on the Effectiveness of the CFS

Tomorrow is the last day to complete a survey on perceptions of the effectiveness of the work of the CFS.

Completing the survey should take no longer than 10-15 minutes and your responses will be treated as confidential. The results of this survey will be presented to the 42nd Plenary Session of CFS in October 2015.

You can complete the survey here:

Englishhttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CFS-Effectiveness-Survey-Open-English

Frenchhttps://fr.surveymonkey.com/r/CFS-Effectiveness-Survey-Open-French

Spanishhttps://es.surveymonkey.com/r/CFS-Effectiveness-Survey-Open-Spanish

 

 

Global Food Security Governance: Civil society engagement in the reformed Committee on World Food Security

I am most excited that my book Global Food Security Governance: Civil society engagement in the reformed Committee on World Food Security is now available for pre-order!

It is part of the  Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment

It is not exactly priced for accessibility so I encourage you to request your library to order it instead. That way you can access it for free!

You can do that at this using this link and click on “Recommend to Librarian”.

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Some reviews:

“In Global Food Security Governance, Jessica Duncan provides a timely and thoughtful analysis of the recent reform of the Committee on World Food Security and its evolving role in international policy-making on issues of hunger and nutrition. Both empirically rich and theoretically grounded, the book highlights the central role of civil society in reshaping food security governance and assesses the challenges facing the CFS as its work moves forward.”Jennifer Clapp, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability, University of Waterloo, Canada.

“The Committee on World Food Security inaugurates a new breed of global governance: one in which civil society co-design institutions with governments. This is a superb assessment of this transformative moment.”Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008-2014).

“The inadequacies of the world’s food system became only too clear when the banking crisis unfolded in 2007. Prices went volatile; hunger rose; politicians floundered. In this book, Jessica Duncan gives a wonderful account of the pressures in, on and around the UN’s Committee on Food Security, reformed as a result. The account she gives us both celebrates democratic attempts to make the food system more accountable, and points to tensions which remain. It’s a great read with sober messages.” – Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, Centre for Food Policy, City University London , UK.

“With global food security emerging as one of the issues of the twenty-first century it is essential that obstacles to improved food access be identified and addressed. In her timely and engaging account of the Committee on World Food Security, Jessica Duncan reveals how powerful global actors are undermining the Committee’s attempts to develop and pursue progressive policies aimed at assisting the world’s hungry. Importantly, she also demonstrates how civil society is confronting global neoliberalism and – through the Committee on World Food Security – is helping to create a new framework for improved food security governance. This illuminating and very well-documented book is a ‘must read’ for those who are hoping for, and working toward, a fairer, more food-secure world.”Geoffrey Lawrence, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, The University of Queensland, Australia and President of the International Rural Sociology Association.

How to feed 9 billion people without wrecking the planet?

I am moving WAY out of my comfort zone by presenting a Pecha Kucha (20 slides  shown for 20 seconds each) at the Eco Intensive Agriculture Conference. I will be reflecting on the “why” and “how” of integrated food security governance for sustainability transformation and talking about why we need to include socio-cultural and socio-ecological considerations in such arrangements.

Here is the Flyer.

Registration for the conference is free (click here)!

Towards eco-intensive agriculture

Another call for papers: Post-neoliberal food transitions

We are looking for papers for a session at the XXVI European Society for Rural Sociology Congress (http://www.esrs2015.eu/WG2 )

The session is: Post-neoliberal food transitions

 Co-conveners: Jessica Duncan [1], Damian Maye [2], Egon Noe [3], Markus Schermer [4]; Discussant: Gianluca Brunori [5]

1: Wageningen University, Netherlands; 2: University of Gloucestershire; 3: Aarhus University; 4: University of Innsbruck; 5: University of Pisa

There is growing recognition that neoliberal food system models, dominant since the late 1970s, may no longer be ‘fit-for-purpose’. In this regard, ‘business as usual’ responses are being seen as no longer able to deal with increasingly complex sets of food system pressures (e.g., climate change, peak oil, food security) and a new ‘post-neoliberal’ paradigm of food system governance is arguably starting to manifest. This paradigm recognises the need to enact more ‘radical’ changes across food system practices and is made visible through a number of new initiatives that have emerged with the aim to re-organise and re-embed food practices and markets into wider social relations. These practices span from agro-ecological approaches on the producer side and to new dietary practices on the consumer side.

From this starting point, this working group will examine recent food system practices through multiple lenses, including post-neoliberalism, transition and post-normal science. It questions:

  • How is the dominant food system developing rules, regulations and actions to respond to new challenges and greater complexity?
  • Which types of niche activities are emerging to support a transition towards food-related practices that are more just and sustainable?
  • How do neoliberal arguments such as individual responsibility, local substitutions to former welfare state schemes, or the replacement of public by private regulations correspond to arguments focused on civic virtues like fairness and solidarity?

This session will bring together researchers from across the social sciences to present and interrogate a range of food-related transitions. We invite the submission of abstracts that engage with one or more of the following themes:

  • (Post)neoliberal food systems and discourses
  • Post-normal science and food chains
  • Theories of innovation, complexity, social practice, resilience, transition
  • Methodologies for assessing food chain performance
  • Food system transitions in rural, urban and/or rural-urban contexts
  • Global, national, regional and local food chain dynamics
  • Sustainable intensification
  • Sustainable diet
  • Agro-ecology, food sovereignty, smallholders, family farms
  • Territorial agri-food initiatives
  • New partnerships and governance arrangements between food chain actors
  • Arguments and visions endorsed by stakeholders in “transition arenas”

Participants are asked to reflect on whether these practices and models are compatible with the neoliberal ordering of the mainstream food system, whether they can, and should, exist alongside or in opposition to the current ordering, or have the potential to alter it substantially.

CALL FOR PANELS ON FOOD GOVERNANCE

Together with a colleague  I am organising a section at the ECPR general conference, Montreal 2015 ( http://www.ecpr.eu/Events/EventDetails.aspx?EventID=94)

We welcome panel and paper proposals (until 10 November  2014) that are based on the section description below.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me: jessica.duncan@wur.nl

Cross-Disciplinary Issues for Food Policy and Governance: Challenges and Opportunities

Food has proven to be a complex, even wicked, policy issue which encompasses multiple policy domains. The call for a more integrated food policy away from mono-disciplinary focus on agricultural, international development, or health is  increasing. Food policy integrates nutrition and public health, agriculture, environment, ethics and social justice, trade, ecology, spatial planning, climate change, water management, and energy and therefore needs the analysis of all policy domains involved, as well as cross-policy domain research. The interconnectedness of  relevant policy domains means that food represents a policy challenge as well as a governance challenge at all levels (i.e., local, national, international, multinational). As such, it requires not only the setup of cross-boundary governance arrangements between traditional institutions and administrative competences, but also the analysis of possible gaps between institutions, deadlocks, miscommunication and/or lack of coordination.

Food policy and governance issues cross different levels and scales: from global discussion about food security, to local water management issues; from acute problems to looming catastrophes  in the distant future. All these interconnected linkages and cross-overs pose many challenges to state actors, civil society, and the private sector.  In this section we will to explore the variety of issues that arise when working towards integrated food policies.

We welcome panel and paper proposals that analyse cross-policy and governance issues in the field of food and agriculture. We are looking for proposals that address participatory governance for food security, integrated systems approaches for food governance, local governance arrangements for sustainable food systems, or food governance in a changing geopolitical context.

Suggested panels:

Panel 1: Participatory governance and food policy
Panel 2: Governing at the Nexus
Panel 3: Integrated Systems Approaches for Food Governance/ Global Environmental Change and Food Systems
Panel 4: Future Challenges for Food Governance
Panel 5: Local governance arrangements for sustainable food systems
Panel 6: Food Governance in a Changing Geopolitical Context

Mapping the state of play on the global food landscape

I spent the last two days in Waterloo, Ontario at an incredible workshop called “Mapping the state of play on the global food landscape”.  It brought together academic and civil society experts on ten key themes:

  • State of the world food system
  • Progress on the right to food
  • Global food trade
  • Corporate role in food and agriculture
  • Food sovereignty
  • Genetic resources and agricultural biotechnology
  • Land grab and agrarian reform
  • Financialization in the food system
  • Sustainable food systems and global environmental change
  • Global food governance in an era of crisis.

Still buzzing from the great conversations and debate. This was my dream conference. Amazing people, lots of discussion lasting from morning to night and great food.

There was also a lot of work! Each of us (3 per theme)  was asked to develop a brief and presentation that answers 3 questions on the past, present and future of our themes. I presented on the final theme an ended up not using the PowerPoint presentation I had developed. I figured it would be good to share. So, here is the presentation that never was:Towards ecological food security

There will be an output from the workshop and I will certainly share that when it becomes available.