Challenging Food Governance Models: Analyzing the Food Citizen and the Emerging Food Constitutionalism from an EU Perspective

  • L. Escajedo San-EpifanioEmail author


Critical analyses of current food systems underline the need to respond to important challenges in questions of nutritional health, environmental sustainability, socio-economic development and protection of the cultural wealth. A wide range of perspectives and methodologies were used to carry out those analyses yielding a significant variety of proposals to undertake the challenges. In most of those analyses, the need to transform our current food systems both from the local to the global level is emphasized, paying attention to food chain processes as well as to decision-makers. The analysis presented in this paper reflects specifically on those proposals based on a common aspect: the need to transform the governance of the EU present-day food system, that is, who makes decisions, how are those decisions made, and which changes need to be made to empower food consumers. The introduction of reforms to change these models is proposed. The focus of these proposals, including those that argue in favour of food sovereignty, the human right to food or the acknowledgement of a food citizenship, share, I believe, a common key. All of them advocate transformations in models of food governance on the basis of a series of mechanisms and principles which for centuries have been employed to control power and grant the governed a status digno vis-à-vis those who govern. Within those proposals we may identify an incipient food constitutionalism, which I will address along with the opportunities and obstacles inherent in the current EU Legal Framework.


Food constitutionalism Food citizen Food related fundamental rights Multilevel food governance Food sovereignty Human right to food 



I would like to acknowledge here the input of the different experts that took part in the review process. Their comments and suggestions have been very helpful. “Food, Beliefs and Cultural Diversity Project”, funded by the Government of Castilla-Leon; Research Team Grant IT 743-13 of the Directorate on Scientific Policy of the Basque Country “Multilevel Constitutionalism and Integration of Diversity (Political, Legal-Institutional and Cultural-Religious)”; “The Ways of Federalism and the Horizons of the Spanish Territorial Autonomy: Accommodation of political and cultural diversity”, DER2013-47774-P (MINECO); URBAN-ELIKA, Cross-Disciplinary Studies for Food and Society, “Improving access to food”, US14/19 (University of the Basque Country).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Constitutional Law and History of Political ThoughtUniversity of the Basque Country UPV/EHUBilbaoSpain

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