Nyeleni Movement

Nyéléni Europe is the widest inter­na­tion­al move­ment aim­ing to real­ize food sov­er­eign­ty in Europe. It aims to build com­mon strate­gies in order to re-organ­ise the way we struc­ture our soci­ety around food and agri­cul­ture today.

The name Nyéléni comes from a leg­endary Malian peas­ant wom­an who farmed, and through her farm­ing fed her peo­ple – she embod­ied food sov­er­eign­ty through hard work, inno­va­tion and car­ing. Nyéléni was the inspi­ra­tion for the name of the first Forum for Food Sov­er­eign­ty in Sélin­gué, Mali in 2007.

Food sov­er­eign­ty is a pol­i­cy frame­work advo­cat­ed by a farm­ers’, peas­ants’, pas­toral­ists’, fish­er­folk, Indige­nous Peo­ples’, women’s, rural youth and envi­ron­men­tal organ­i­sa­tions. It was launched in 1996 by the inter­na­tion­al peas­ants’ move­ment La Via Campesina dur­ing the FAO World Food Sum­mit in Rome. Since then food sov­er­eign­ty has played an increas­ing­ly impor­tant role in the debate on agri­cul­ture and alter­na­tives to neolib­er­al poli­cies. The food sov­er­eign­ty move­ment is con­tin­u­ous­ly grow­ing in the Pan-Euro­pean region.

Before the intro­duc­tion of the food sov­er­eign­ty pol­i­cy frame­work, food secu­ri­ty was lim­it­ed to search­ing for ways to guar­an­tee suf­fi­cient food through trade or food aid, at nation­al or inter­na­tion­al lev­els. Food sov­er­eign­ty puts agri­cul­tur­al pro­duc­ers and con­sumers at the core of the debate, and sup­ports all peo­ples in their right to pro­duce their own food, inde­pen­dent of inter­na­tion­al mar­ket con­di­tions, and to con­sume local foods.

Faced with the fail­ure of neolib­er­al poli­cies and the dete­ri­o­rat­ing liv­ing con­di­tions in both rural and urban com­mu­ni­ties, a grow­ing num­ber of polit­i­cal deci­sion mak­ers and social move­ments are tak­ing an inter­est in food sov­er­eign­ty. A group com­posed of Friends of the Earth Inter­na­tion­al, La Via Campesina, the World March of Wom­en, ROPPA, WFF and WFFP organ­ised Nyéléni 2007, the World Forum for Food Sov­er­eign­ty.