The essence of Food Sovereignty is that agroecology and democracy are mutually reinforcing.
Positive democracy dispenses with all forms of coercive hierarchy in favor of the cooperative economies and societies which are natural to human beings. This is the culture which would expunge all tyranny and minimize violence. It’s the most favorable environment for all forms of autonomous and cooperative production, including the agroecology which already has the highest yield of all forms of agriculture, and whose yield advantage shall increase exponentially post-fossil fuels. Conversely, conditions of material scarcity and unemployment are conducive to anti-democratic ideas and forms.
The Big Lie that industrial agriculture outproduces organic is based on simple accounting fraud. Corporate propagandists isolate one crop, for example corn, and then compare industrial vs. organic monocultures* of that crop. But monoculture is antithetical to the organic framework. On the contrary, the right comparison is between the industrial monoculture and the integrated, diversified, holistic organic farm. When this correct account is tallied, we find that organic outproduces industrial in terms of calories and macronutrients, and vastly outproduces it in terms of vitamins and minerals. (GMOs, by the way, are especially nutritional dead weight, on account of how their glyphosate-resistant and Bt-expressing cellular traits physically block nutrient uptake from the soil.)
But this mode of organic production – diversified, geared to local conditions, intensively using skilled labor, producing abundance, providing fulfilling work for all – cannot be concentrated into an assembly line. So it’s naturally resistant to hierarchy. It naturally resists power and wealth concentration.
Therefore agroecology is in the spirit of the original principle of the American Revolution, that concentrated power naturally assaults liberty, and that the responsibility of a citizen is to be vigilant toward power, or better yet not allow it to concentrate in the first place. Organic food production, by its very nature, presents a great hurdle to concentration, and therefore lessens the burden of vigilance. It also does this by providing local/regional food security. By training for self-reliance, it also affirmatively trains us to be the active citizens we need to be.
In all these ways, therefore, agroecology helps foster and strengthen democracy, just as democracy provides the most constructive environment for it. Food sovereignty is an essentially democratic philosophy and practice. It’s the most purely human philosophy, and it’s the practice most tending toward our human fulfillment.
[*Even granting this fraudulent monoculture comparison, organic’s production is competitive with industrial, and often outproduces it.]