The idea of “food sovereignty” is nearly 20 years old, and most folk still don’t quite know what it means. To be fair, the term ‘sovereignty’ does no-one any favours. It sounds like it might have something to do with nation-states. It could also be a slightly more pretentious way of saying ‘food self-sufficiency’. In truth, the one liner version of food sovereignty is fairly simple: “it’s about having a democratic food system for the first time”. Which almost immediately begs the question: so what does this actually look like?
To find out, you could thread through a fairly lengthy and dense academic definition. Or, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you could just visit the newly occupied Gill Tract. Because last weekend on Earth Day, dozens activists took over a piece of land controlled by the University of California at Berkeley, and dedicated it to food sovereignty. Right now, they’re planting 15,000 seedlings.