What is the difference between food sovereignty and food security? The word sovereignty means different things to different cultures, but one understanding is the knowledge that we’ll have plenty to eat and share, if we are the ones growing our food. Cultures that have maintained a close connection to the land and their foodways know the true depth of this word. It has to do with a respect for the interdependence we have with our kin and generations, neighbors and communities. Indigenous, Black, Latino/Hispanic/Latinx, and Asian cultures, share many of focal points in value systems. These often include a conscious connection with the Earth, the health of the soil we are growing food in, the skies clear of smoke long enough for the light to nourish the plants and help them grow, and wise use of water, a precious resource that all life depends on. Food sovereignty also relies heavily upon the seeds, the miraculous beings in the midst of it all. Food sovereignty includes the responsibility we share to care for the reciprocal aspects of healthy life.
As a white-owned seed company right now, it feels important to acknowledge that a sense of sovereignty is something we are continuously learning about in terms of the seeds. We also acknowledge that a having sense of food sovereignty is something some among us are striving towards, but we’re up against generations of conditioned reliance on the labor and land of these other cultures to provide our food for us.
Food security is knowing that we’ll have enough to eat, but if we completely depend on supply chains to have it ready for us, that can increasingly leave us in a food insecure place. These supply chains depend on heavy use of fossil fuels and often demand exploitative labor practices. Many of our community members do not have food security. As things continue to grow more complicated in our shared world, efforts to keep and build good relationships together are impacted. Systems in place to try and address hunger and food insecurity are subject to such impacts. With gas prices rising at the rapid rates they are, there is increasing need to localize our food supply. To do this, we need to work together, perhaps in the most humane spirit of earlier times, with more consciousness and compassion.
Communities in this country have overcome serious risks to our food supply before. The Victory Garden era of WWI and II* was a highly successful movement supported by the US Government, to supplement food needs of households across the country.
There are millions who answered the onset of the pandemic by gardening. We’re responding to that ambition by getting better at what we do, and learning a lot as we go (and grow). It can be really hard to find balance and time to grow enough food, but if we work together cross culturally to figure this out, we work towards the deeper understanding and gratification of food sovereignty.
*In WWII Victory Gardens were a national necessity to supplement the loss of domestic food and vegetable production due to the internment of Japanese American farmers.
"1945 victory gardens - this government information kit will help ...." https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1945_victory_gardens_-_this_government_information_kit_will_help_you_stimulate_gardening_in_your_locality_(IA_CAT31375286).pdf.