Food Security

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 223–233 | Cite as

Food sovereignty: shifting debates on democratic food governance

  • Koen Dekeyser
  • Lise Korsten
  • Lorenzo Fioramonti


This article develops the concept of food sovereignty while it critically reflects on its present status and future trajectories. The concept of food sovereignty provides an alternative framework for solutions to the human and ecological consequences of industrial food systems. While the concept of food sovereignty gains traction at international levels, including at the United Nations, its lack of conceptual clarity contributes to a variety of often diverging interpretations. This frequently constrains practical implementation and weakens its potential as an alternative paradigm to food governance. At the same time, food sovereignty thought is shifting beyond its initial agrarian focus to embrace whole food systems, which includes the role of consumers and urban areas.


Food sovereignty Food governance Social movements Food systems Food security 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature and International Society for Plant Pathology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation and Department of Political SciencesUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence in Food SecurityCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Plant and Soil SciencesUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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