Subversive Future Seeks Like-Minded Model: On the Mismatch between Visions of Food Sovereignty Futures and Quantified Scenarios of Global Food Futures

Yashar Saghai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Will we, by 2050, be able to feed a rapidly growing population with healthy and sustainably grown food in a world threatened by systemic environmental crises? There are too many uncertainties for us to predict the long-Term evolution of the global agri-food system, but we can explore a wide range of futures to inform policymaking and public debate on the future of food. This is typically done by creating scenarios (story lines that vividly describe what different futures could look like) and quantifying them with computer simulation models to get numerical estimates of how different aspects of the global agri-food system might evolve under different hypotheses. Among the many scenarios produced over the last twenty years, one would expect to see the future advocated by the food sovereignty movement, which claims to represent roughly two hundred million self-described peasants (small farmers) worldwide. This movement defends a vision of the future based on relocalized, sustainable, and just agri-food systems, self-governed through direct and participatory democratic processes. Yet, food sovereignty is conspicuously absent from quantified scenarios of global food futures. As part of the roundtable, Ethics and the Future of the Global Food System, this essay identifies seven obstacles that undermine the creation of food sovereignty scenarios by examining two attempts at crafting such scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-67
Number of pages17
JournalEthics and International Affairs
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021

Keywords

  • food ethics
  • food futures
  • food sovereignty
  • futures studies
  • models
  • scenarios
  • UNDROP

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