In the world of food systems, two connected yet separate concepts play crucial roles in shaping our relationship with food – food security and food sovereignty. While both aim to ensure access to nutritious food, they differ in their focus and principles.
Understanding Food Security
Food security is measured by indicators such as food production, distribution, affordability, and access to food. Organizations and individuals focused on food security are working to address immediate needs and aim to alleviate hunger and malnutrition by providing an adequate food supply to all.
Food security means that individuals and communities can meet their nutritional needs. It refers to the availability, access, utilization, and stability of a community’s food system. It focuses on ensuring that everyone has reliable access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food at all times.
Discovering Food Sovereignty
Food sovereignty is a more holistic approach to food systems that strives for social justice, environmental sustainability, and the preservation of local food systems. Coined by La Via Campesina, those seeking to create food sovereignty typically advocate for the rights of communities, farmers, and individuals to control their own food systems. Inextricably tied to this is the concept of increasing production and consumption of local, sustainable, and culturally appropriate food.
Going beyond food security, food sovereignty focuses on empowering local communities to have control over the agricultural practices (such as crop rotation, seed ownership, irrigation, etc.) and land and resources from which their food comes from. A focus on food sovereignty also highlights the importance of preserving area biodiversity, traditional agricultural knowledge, and local cultural practices related to food.
By prioritizing diverse and resilient methods and seeking to supply locally the foods that the local community wants and needs most, aiming to move past food security and more toward food sovereignty is an important part of creating a more equitable and sustainable future.
At Trellis for Tomorrow, we understand that addressing food security today is essential for fostering food sovereignty tomorrow and we actively work towards improving both concepts through our programs and initiatives.
Increasing Food Security
Trellis for Tomorrow improves food security in vulnerable communities by infusing those communities with fresh, organic, produce all growing season long. We help communities increase their food production and increase access to nutritious food. Through our Food for All program, partner organizations commit to donating at least half of their produce to food banks and pantries local to the garden site. Through these community gardens, and in partnership with food banks, Trellis for Tomorrow ensures that immediate food security needs are addressed.
Advancing Food Sovereignty
Trellis for Tomorrow focuses on empowering communities to reclaim control over their food systems. We support the community by supplying the materials, resources, and expertise to establish large, functional, and sustainable gardens. Then, we work in partnership with members of the community; teaching them how to maintain the space and supporting them through a nine-month garden season. We promote practices that preserve biodiversity and traditional knowledge by engaging with local stakeholders. Through our programs, we strive to create an environment where food sovereignty can thrive.
Building Collaborative Networks
We understand that fostering sustainable food systems requires collaboration and knowledge exchange. We actively build partnerships with local communities, farmers, educational institutions, and government agencies. One example of this is Trellis’s leadership role in the Pottstown Area Food Collaborative (PAFC). PAFC is a group of highly engaged, cross-sector entities with a shared vision for a localized food system in Pottstown that increases access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate, sustainably produced food. The Collaborative views food as not only a basic need and a human right, but also as a re-generator of the local economy. By creating platforms for dialogue and sharing best practices, Trellis for Tomorrow encourages the co-creation of innovative solutions for both food security and food sovereignty.
Become Part of the Solution
By promoting sustainable practices, empowering individuals, and fostering collaboration, Trellis for Tomorrow is making a significant impact on both food security and food sovereignty. Through our efforts, we are laying the foundation for a future where communities have control over their access to nutritious food and the ability to shape their own food systems.