Transition Towards a Food Commons Regime: Re-Commoning Food to Crowd-Feed the World

30 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2015 Last revised: 27 Feb 2015

Date Written: January 13, 2015


This paper analyses the main fault lines of the industrial food system and the consequences of the absolute commodification of food. Then, using the food regime theory and exploring the developments in the industrial food system (mainstream) and the urban alternative food networks (AFNs) and rural food sovereignty movement (innovative niches), the author proposes a transition pathway (the re-commonification of food) towards a food commons regime in which primacy rests in its feature as human beings’ absolute need and the different dimensions of food are properly valued, in opposition to the corporate mono-dimensional valuation of food as a commodity. In order to crowdsource this transition, this paper argues the food sovereignty movement and the AFNs need to grow together, beyond individual organisations, to knit a different and bigger food web capable of confronting the industrial food system for the common good. This ongoing transition that will span decades is to be steered by a tricentric governance system (urban and rural civic collective actions for food, partner states and social private enterprises) that enables access and promote food in all its dimensions through a multiplicity of open structures and sustainable peer-to-peer practices aimed at sharing, co-producing and trading food and knowledge. Unlike the market, the food commons are about cooperation, sharing, stewardship, equity, self-production, sustainability, collectiveness, embeddedness and direct democracy from local to global. Shifting the dominant discourse from the private sphere to the commons arena will open up a whole new world of economic, political and societal innovations, not least the Universal Food Coverage.

Keywords: food transition, food regimes, commons, commodification, food values, food sovereignty, alternative food movements

JEL Classification: A13, B00, H41, P16, P26, P51

Suggested Citation

Vivero Pol, Jose Luis, Transition Towards a Food Commons Regime: Re-Commoning Food to Crowd-Feed the World (January 13, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Jose Luis Vivero Pol (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
32 10474646 (Phone)


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