Producing the Scales of Food Sovereignty

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Pierre-Mathieu LE BEL, Irstea, France
Salma LOUDIYI, VetAgroSup, France
One of the central pilars of food sovereignty is the promotion of local food systems (Robbins, 2015; Nyéléni repport 2007; Schiavoni, 2015). The local discourse can be conceived as a way to “subvert, the various types of “distancing” that the current industrial food system has created” (Alonso-Frajedas et al. 2015: 442). But the Food Sovereignty vision of local food systems is still partly unarticulated because it has to deal with complex realities and issues (Borras and al. 2008). The difference between spatial and organizational proximity is related to the ambiguity as to what constitutes “the local” and calls for an interdisciplinary social and geographical approach.

Far from aiming to define what is local in Local Foof Systems, we contend that food sovereignty scales have to be investigated. We do not agree with scholars who, as Marston (2005), call for discarding the notion of scale. Since the politics of Food Sovereignty interact with the state, the nested scales of the state are central to food sovereignty project. Conversely, local actors do employ scalar strategies of their own to expand their power bypassing the state.

Our aim is to analyze how Food Sovereignty as a process of territorial development is shaping up new scales of action for all participating actors. To do so, we base ourselves on food projects being implemented in tree French municipalities: Clermont-Ferrand, Albi and Cusset. These projects conciderably reshape the patterns of relationships and power between the multiple actors of local food systems. Our paper explores geography’s use of the concept of scale and uses the case studies as opportunities to contribute to this scholarship. Inversely, we contend that more attention given to scale production in Food Sovereignty projects has the potential to open new windows of opportunity both for scholars and Food Sovereignty practitioners.