Working Session: Food Sovereignty in the Pacific
Organizer: Kathleen C. Riley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Co-organizers: John Wagner, Kathleen C. Riley, and Patricia Fifita
Colonialism, capitalism, and industrial food systems have shaped foodways in the Pacific region in ways that challenge individuals’ health and nutrition, undermine local cultural values, and are economically divisive and environmentally destructive. Industrial food systems are frequently powered by unfair, racist labor practices, are a major cause of climate change, and, as the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates, are susceptible to production and supply breakdowns that threaten the food security of all who rely on them. Food sovereignty approaches, as developed in both the global north and global south, offer at least partial remedies for many of these problems, but could benefit by better communication between local communities and the NGOs working at regional and global scales. In this session, we explore Pacific people’s diverse understandings of food, health, work, and the environment, consider their attempts to articulate these in the face of global industrial food forces and discourses, and evaluate the potential for food sovereigntist movements to mobilize constructive change throughout the Pacific region.