Restoring Food Democracy: What Gandhi can teach us about Food, Sustainability, and Justice
Thursday, November 18
Ballantine Hall Room 005
Whitney Sanford, Associate Professor of Religion, University of Florida
Over 50 years ago, Mohandas K. Gandhi offered a paradigm for food democracy that emphasized sustainability, equity, and social justice regarding natural resources, and he claimed that freedom lay in democratic and broad access to the means of production and survival. Today, the globally dominant paradigm for agriculture is, arguably, the model that Gandhi most feared: a highly industrialized model of food production that is becoming increasingly centralized. Despite the rhetoric of “feeding the world” and increased production, the growing corporate control of the world’s food supply has led to increased hunger, environmental degradation and social inequities. This paper explores how communities in India and the US are using Gandhi’s thought to rethink food production and social relations, using tropes such as self-sufficiency and non-violence to address the moral dimensions of eating and food production. These emphases provide a framework for practice that, dialectically, leads to the transformation that Gandhi thought necessary for personal and social change. These communities, exemplars of Gandhi’s environmental legacy, demonstrate an approach to one of our greatest societal challenges: feeding the world’s growing populations in a manner that is just and sustainable.
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