Food and Cities

“… the terrain of struggle for justice is happening in the city and in the countryside, and it’s beginning to link.”

Eric Holt-Giménez

In response to the social inequities and ecological damage wrought by the industrial and globalising food system, a growing food movement that champions food and farm justice, sovereignty and democracy is driving social, economic and political change across the globe.

This industrial food system not only creates food and farm insecurity, it reformulates rural/urban relations, city to rural migrations and vice versa, and the social and political networks in cities – even what it means to be a citizen.

“You think about the United States or Australia, for instance,  how many people are actually on the land? Well, less than 2 percent of the population in both cases. In the United States we have more people in prison than we have on the land.”

Eric Holt-Giménez

Eric Holt-Giménez talks about la Via Campesina, a global peasants’ movement. “Rural and indigenous women have a long history of oppression and struggle,” says la Via Campesina. “Feminist struggles have resulted in the recognition of women’s rights as human rights, rights to education and resources and improved social status for some women.”

“…because most of the farmers in the world are women, unless we have food sovereignty, we can’t insure womens rights. And from the point of view of la Via Campesina, because most of the farmers in the world are women, we can’t have food sovereignty until we end all violence against women”

Eric Holt-Giménez


Eric Holt-Giménez has been Executive Director of Food First since 2006. He is the editor of the Food First bookFood Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems; co-author of Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice with Raj Patel and Annie Shattuck; and author of the book Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America’s Farmer to Farmer Movement for Sustainable Agriculture and of many academic, magazine and news articles.

Of Basque and Puerto Rican heritage, Eric grew up milking cows and pitching hay in Point Reyes, CA, where he learned that putting food on the table is hard work. After studying rural education and biology at the University of Oregon and Evergreen State College, he traveled through Mexico and Central America, where he was drawn to the simple life of small-scale farmers.

The Democratic Experiment Series

This episode is a part of a series called The Democratic Experiment. This series is a partnership between City Road and The Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney. The Sydney Policy Lab exists to break down the barriers between researchers, policymakers, campaigners and the community at large. At the Sydney Policy Lab people of all backgrounds are coming together to strengthen our democracy, reduce spiralling inequality and help to empower communities to shape their own future.

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