Food Security vs. Food Sovereignty
On the one hand, the distance between the two is quite large. Food security refers only to the availability of food, regardless of the type, method or location of production, and so on. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization,
Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
Food sovereignty is a broader concept. According to the 2007 Declaration of Nyéléni, food sovereignty encompasses
The right of peoples, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies. Food sovereignty means the primacy of people’s and community’s rights to food and food production, over trade concerns.
Food sovereignty is thus embedded in larger questions of social justice and the rights of farmers and indigenous communities to control their own futures and make their own decisions.
The difference between food security and food sovereignty is important. As Windfuhr and Jonsen describe it in their 2005 book, Food Sovereignty: Towards Democracy in Localised Food Systems, “food security is more of a technical concept, and the right to food a legal one, food sovereignty is essentially a political concept.”
For my part, I’d argue that food sovereignty emphasizes local control and self-sufficiency, while food security emphasizes reliance on the global economy based on liberalized agricultural markets.