Students for Food Sovereignty (SFS) is a national coalition of college students fighting for justice and autonomy in our campuses and beyond. In June 2020, four undergraduate students formed SFS as a response to the lack of responsibility that higher education takes for its role in local and global food systems. As a student-created, student-led organization, our movement seeks to unite individuals in academia around the globe in pursuit of a common mission: food sovereignty.
Food sovereignty is about reclaiming power over our food systems from production to consumption. It seeks to empower farmers and ranchers, landless workers, and the vulnerable communities (BIPOC, the developing world, low-income neighborhoods, etc.) that are unseen and under-protected in the systems that bring food to our tables. In all our endeavors, we are committed to accessible education that allows people—especially students—to actualize change and build meaningful connections with their greater food communities.
Declaration of Nyéléni
“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”
Student Basic Needs Coalition (SBNC) is a student-based organization that has four higher education-focused initiatives: student food, housing, health, and safety. In July 2020, SFS and SBNC began a partnership centered on our respective food-based initiatives to increase student involvement and expand available resources to both organizations. SBNC and SFS chapters are connected through the two organizations' leadership teams, working together to bring food sovereignty to their campuses. This includes combined efforts to cut the contract with the Big 3 foodservice suppliers and move to self-operated dining, among other community-based efforts.
Uprooted and Rising (UNR) aims to create a culture shift through public action, digital organizing, and creative storytelling that uplifts and centers the ideas and experiences of those who have been marginalized by corporate control and white supremacy in our food system. In March 2020, a group of students with a passion for food sovereignty (now the Founders of SFS) contacted UNR for guidance on how to engage with the movement. After collaborating on the #CutTheContract Toolkit and a workshop to support students in starting their own campaigns, SFS began to form as a separate entity but maintained a close relationship with UNR. Now, the two organizations regularly collaborate to increase student involvement and expand our resources on food sovereignty.
As institutions that capitalize on the communities in which they exist, our universities cannot ignore inequities and failings that have disenfranchised residents for so long. Higher education has a responsibility to lead the way in fighting and reforming the injustices in our food systems. SFS holds academia accountable for its role in perpetuating the systemic atrocities of global and local food systems. Through our campaigns and programs, we seek to create a bridge between education and action to further our ultimate goal of food sovereignty.