Food Sovereignty


Indigenous Food Systems, Environmental Justice, and Settler-Industrial States

Whyte, K. (2016). Indigenous food systems, environmental justice, and settler-industrial states. Global Food, Global Justice: Essays on Eating under Globalization. Edited by M. Rawlinson & C. Ward, 143-156. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Environmental injustices impacting Indigenous peoples across the globe are often described as wrongful disruptions of Indigenous food systems imposed by settler-industrial states such as the U.S. I will discuss how focusing on Indigenous food systems suggests a conception of the structure of environmental injustice as interference in Indigenous peoples’ collective capacities to self-determine how they adapt to metascale forces, from climate change to economic transitions. This conception of environmental justice can be contrasted to conceptions focusing on wrongfully disproportionate allocations of environmental hazards. I conclude by connecting environmental justice, the movements of global settler-industrial states, and the food and environmental justice issues of other populations, such as African-Americans in the Detroit, Michigan area.

Food Justice and Collective Food Relations

Whyte, K. (2015). Food justice and collective food relations. Food, Ethics and Society: An Introductory Text with Readings. Edited by A. Barnhill, M. Budolfson and T. Doggett, 122-134. Oxford University Press.

A dimension of food justice found in the words and writing of advocates is that food justice should account for the value of food in relation to the self-determination of human groups such as urban communities of color, Indigenous peoples and migrant farmworkers, among many other groups. My goal in this essay is to outline a norm of food justice that is based on the value of food in relation to the self-determination of human groups. In the essay, I begin by describing the first two dimensions of food justice; I then discuss the role of food in collective self-determination and introduce the idea of collective food relations, discussing in particular the role of manoomin (wild rice) in the collective self-determination of the Anishinaabek in the Great Lakes region; I then explain how disrupting collective food relations can be a form of food injustice.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Renewal and U.S. Settler Colonialism

Whyte, K. (2016). Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Renewal and US Settler Colonialism. Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Renewal and U.S. Settler Colonialism. In The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics. Edited by M. Rawlinson & C. Ward, 354-365. Routledge.

Indigenous peoples often embrace different versions of the concept of food sovereignty. Yet some of these concepts are seemingly based on impossible ideals of food self-sufficiency. I will suggest in this essay that for at least some North American Indigenous peoples, food sovereignty movements are not based on such ideals, even though they invoke concepts of cultural revitalization and political sovereignty. Instead, food sovereignty is a strategy of Indigenous resurgence that negotiates structures of settler colonialism that erase the ecological value of certain foods for Indigenous peoples.

Food Sovereignty, Justice and Indigenous Peoples: An Essay on Settler Colonialism and Collective Continuance.

Whyte, K. (2017). Food sovereignty, justice and Indigenous peoples: An essay on settler colonialism and collective continuance. Oxford Handbook on Food Ethics. Eds A. Barnhill, T. Doggett, & A. Egan. Oxford University Press.

All people are involved in various ways, from production to consumption to recycling, in food systems. Food injustice occurs when at least one human group systematically dominates one or more other human groups through their connections to and interactions with one another in local and global food systems. In this essay, I will focus on another norm that comes up in situations involving human groups that seek to govern themselves in different respects (e.g., culturally, socially, economically, etc.) as collective societies— such as Indigenous peoples. The norm is food sovereignty or, according to one prominent definition, “the right of peoples and governments to choose the way food is produced and consumed in order to respect livelihoods” (La Via Campesina 2009, 57). Food sovereignty, then, is a norm defending the self- determination of some collectives, including societies such as peoples and governments, over their food systems.