Food Sovereignty, Gendered Economies and Everyday Practice

By: Katherine Turner   C. Julián Idrobo   Ana Maria Peredo   Annette Aurélie Desmarais  

While social and political movements are the scale of action most often identified with food sovereignty-related struggles, everyday practices that allow food sovereignty to be actualized through the maintenance of localized food systems often go unrecognized. Women’s economic activities are also frequently muted in profiling local economies. In this paper we examine the nexus of food sovereignty and women’s everyday practice through an analysis of gendered food economies in Afro-descendent communities in the Chocó Department of Colombia. In this region deeply affected by armed conflict, drug trafficking and state neglect, Afrocolombian communities are defending their collective territories and small-scale food production practices through regional land and marine use planning processes that include new market linkages. Drawing on interviews, a household survey and focus group data gathered in early 2018 in the municipality of Bajo Baudó, Chocó, we present a preliminary analysis of the relationships between local food sovereignty, gendered economies and everyday practice. While predominantly male activities such as commercial fishing and agriculture have received more recognition and support from state and non-state actors, women play a critical, although undervalued role, in sustaining localized food systems through their food production and harvesting activities. Recognizing women’s muted contributions provides new insights into how food sovereignty is actualized not only through regional or national mobilizations but also through everyday practices that nourish households, sustain valued relationships with local food cultures, local resources and biodiversity, and allow for greater food self-sufficiency within regional processes of market integration.

Food Sovereignty, Gendered Economies, Everyday Practice, Afrocolombian Food Cultures, Colombia
Food, Politics, and Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Katherine Turner

Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Canada
B.C., Canada

I am an SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria and hold a PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Management from the University of Manitoba (2016). My interests center on the use of biocultural resources for rural and community economic development, particularly related with food cultures and food systems. I have examined these issues in Canada and Latin America. My current project focuses on food sovereignty-related territorial struggles of Afrocolombian communities on the Pacific Coast and the relationships between efforts to realize their self-determined development objectives and biocultural heritage promotion strategies in local and extra-local markets. 

C. Julián Idrobo

Assistant Professor, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
Cundinamarca, Colombia

Figuring out human-environment relations and the multiple values that hold them together. Interested in small-scale fisheries and coastal social-ecological systems. 

Ana Maria Peredo

Professor, University of Victoria, Canada

Annette Aurélie Desmarais

Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair in Human Rights