The 2007 Nyéléni declarations identify fighting against the “privatisation and commodification of food, basic and public services, knowledge, land, water, seeds, livestock and our natural heritage” as central to food sovereignty. While the declaration is specific, it is less clear about what this means in practice. This talk sheds light on existing alternative food systems that practice anti-privatization and anti-commodification, and in so doing I hope to demonstrate that commodification is a socially-constructed process that is possible to resist. The exchange of manoomin (wild rice), through reciprocal social economies persists, in the Anishinabek communities on the White Earth Reservation, in spite of the way the corporate food regime seeks to monetize all exchanges. The persistence of non-capitalist exchange in the face of widespread pressure to commodify food opens up world of possibility for advocates and practitioners of radical food system reform.
Amy Trauger is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Georgia in Athens. Her work has focused on the political and cultural economies of agriculture, including work on women farmers in sustainable agriculture, organic bananas in global production networks and more recently, food sovereignty as a global political movement. She recently finished a book on food sovereignty for the University of Georgia Press, titled We Want Land to Live: Making Political Space for Food Sovereignty. She is a descendent of settler colonists in the Midwest, and grew up near Park Rapids, Minnesota. She is a proud graduate of the Geography undergraduate program at UMD, and received her MS and PhD from Pennsylvania State University.