Date of Graduation

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

International and Global Studies

Advisor/Mentor

Phillips, Jared

Committee Member/Reader

Brogi, Alessandro

Committee Member/Second Reader

Popp, Jennie

Abstract

La Via Campesina (LVC), a global movement that supports small and local farmers and their communities, is one of the world’s largest food and agricultural rights movements and advocates for agricultural rights in terms of land, ecology, human rights, and more. LVC is known for its establishment of food sovereignty, defined as the right to control one’s production and consumption of food. This new concept placed them on the map, accompanied by their aggressive editorial and advocacy work against ideals they view as neoliberal and food policies that benefit large food moguls while disenfranchising the small farmer. The concept of food sovereignty is now a main driving force for global food activism and is being used by passionate individuals and entities who consider the idea applicable to all areas of the agricultural world.

A prime factor in achieving food sovereignty for small producers is land tenure, which is increasingly under fire throughout Europe. Foreign investors, corporations, and even national governments are engaged in the process of "land grabbing” that creates problems for small farming communities throughout Europe and beyond. When land grabbing occurs, small farmers are not only displaced from their homes and careers, but are also removed from discussions about ecological practices, food production, and food distribution. The only voices who hold weight are large farming companies or foreign investors who do not see food as a way of life, but as a commodity for future profit. What the world does not realize is that when agricultural rights, such as access to land, are taken from small farmers, they are also depriving those small communities of sustainable, local food sources, nutritional food that supports the diets of the region, and the financial support that small farmers rely on to live.

This project discusses land grabbing in eastern and central Europe, linking these nations’ collective experiences to food sovereignty and how it contributes to land tenure in the region. I then address LVC as a movement that uses food sovereignty as a base for its advocacy in supporting the global peasantry. LVC’s European branch, ECVC, gives LVC a European base to spread its mission give localized support to rural farmers in that region. Lastly, I analyze the impacts that LVC and ECVC have on global policy, national law, and their overall progress in the food sovereignty movement. Through their consistently amplified voice, extensive internal structure, and unrelenting participation, LVC has made a significant impact through various avenues in fighting against land grabbing and, therefore, furthering the food sovereignty movement.

Keywords

Land occupation, Green grabbing, Food Sovereignty Movement, Agricultural advocacy, Food rights issues, Service learning

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