Power and participation in an era of food system governance

Back in June, I was invited to give a talk as part of the Centre for Food Policy’s Food Thinkers Series. It was an honor to be back at the Centre where I did my PhD. I was asked to talk about power and participation in food systems governance. I broke the talk up into 6 chapters:

Chapter 1: Uncertain times. We are living in uncertain times and compounding crises. We must not forget that these crises are not just opportunities for change, but also for entrenching power. I made a case for the importance of food governance and the need to reflect more on legitimacy and authority in the emerging architecture of food systems governance.

  • For more on this topic, see this paper I wrote with colleagues on how the UNFSS could reconfigure food systems governance.

Chapter 2: The emperor’s new summit? In this chapter, I introduce the case of the UN Food System Summit.

Chapter 3: Cracks emerge. In this chapter, I explain some of the main critiques of the Summit and the implications for food governance.

Chapter 4: Not all the stakes are the same. Here, I elaborate on the all-affected principle and the most-affected principle, relating these approaches back to the discussion in chapter 1 on legitimacy and authority.

Chapter 5: Whose voices are heard? The next element in the story relates back to the issue of authority: who is claiming the authority to speak for food systems and whose claims are heard? I argue that the discourse of science was used to narrow the scope of knowledge to technological understandings of problems and solutions, at the expense of other ways of knowing.

Chapter 6: A new relationship moving forward(?) Building on the last chapter, in chapter 6 I reflect on efforts to push forward a science-policy interface for food systems. I put forward principles for transformative food system policy.

The whole talk and the excellent Q&A, moderated by Professor Corinna Hawkes are available below!

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