Food Justice: An Environmental Justice Critique of the Global Food System

INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND THE GLOBAL SOUTH (Shawkat Alam, Sumudu Atapattu, Carmen G. Gonzalez, and Jona Razzaque, eds). Cambridge University Press, 2015

Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 17-02

51 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2016 Last revised: 18 Jan 2017

Carmen G. Gonzalez

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: September 4, 2015

Abstract

Environmental justice is an important framework for understanding the North-South divide in many areas of international law and policy, including energy, climate, hazardous wastes, and food. An environmental justice analysis makes visible the ways in which the global North benefits from unsustainable economic activity while imposing the environmental consequences on the global South and on the planet’s most vulnerable human beings, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, and the poor. This chapter applies an environmental justice analysis to the global food system, and identifies the ways in which this system perpetuates food injustice among and within nations. It adopts a tripartite definition of food justice consisting of ecologically sustainable food production, equitable access to food and food-producing resources, and democratic local and national control over food and agricultural policy. Because the concept of food justice originates in the theory and practice of the environmental justice movement, the chapter describes the origins of this movement and explains how environmental justice as an analytical framework applies to North-South relations. The chapter then analyzes the underlying causes of food injustice, and outlines several strategies to create a more equitable and sustainable approach to global food governance.

Keywords: food justice, environmental justice, food sovereignty, permanent sovereignty over natural resources, human rights, food security, right to food, biofuels , genetically modified organisms, bilateral investment treaties, land grabbing

JEL Classification: F13, F18, F54, Q17, Q56, N50, O24, K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Gonzalez, Carmen G., Food Justice: An Environmental Justice Critique of the Global Food System (September 4, 2015). INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND THE GLOBAL SOUTH (Shawkat Alam, Sumudu Atapattu, Carmen G. Gonzalez, and Jona Razzaque, eds). Cambridge University Press, 2015; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 17-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2880060

Carmen G. Gonzalez (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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