Global goals are potentially powerful tools for mobilization of common and sustained effort, for measurability, and for accountability. Yet these aims can have unfortunate, unforeseen, and even counter-productive implications. Interference with local ownership of development agendas as a result of externally imposed ‘universal’ goals; the need to produce data accounting for diverse experiences disaggregated by gender, ethnicity, and so on; the impossibility of quantifying results for complex, interlinked issues; and the need to facilitate change in local institutions are a few of many factors shaping the global/ local divide in the pursuit of global goals. The transformative potential of the SDGs can easily be lost in quantification processes that distract from meaningful social change and impede progress toward human rights-based approaches. The SDGs elevate food security and sustainable agriculture yet the focus is still, in significant measure, productivist. Setting up the case studies to follow, this paper will zero in on the goal to augment food production by women and Indigenous people, considering its potential AND inherent contradictions. How can SDG 2 translate into local action?