The future of food and challenges for agriculture in the 21st century

International Colloquium

Debates about who, how and with what social, economic and ecological implications we will feed the world.


April 24-6 2017 Europa Congress Palace, Vitoria Gasteiz. Álava, Basque Country.

With the intention of deepening our analysis of the food system in the coming decades, this event will address various dimensions of food and delve into the realities and challenges to provide insights into the future. The issue of food is complex and touches many aspects of our lives.

This colloquium aims to be a space to discuss this complexity and bring together perspectives from different sectors (the peasantry, fishing, public institutions and research, etc.) to enrich the debate. The challenge of how to feed the world is a historical debate, but the novelty of this meeting is intended to go beyond the mere question whether it is possible or not.

Here, the idea is to go into the details of how it is being done at present; what practices are currently taking place and with what consequences; how is the vision of food sovereignty being put into practice; what can we learn from the interrelated experiences with activism and research on the food system that seek to define our future path...

Given the gravity of the economic, ecological and social crises shaping and being shaped by the global food system today, it is necessary to analyze the current context. However, the goal in this colloquium is to channel the force of these analyzes to better understand the steps we need to take into the future.

Food sovereignty is the most developed proposal for an alternative food system to date, but there is still much to understand about how to 'operationalize' the concept. Ten years have passed since the declaration of Nyeleni where the six pillars of food sovereignty were articulated, marking an important step towards putting ideas into practice.

These six pillars have helped bring the concept to life and have shown the breadth of topics and areas involved in the transformation that La Via Campesina and allies are proposing with this idea.

This colloquium will take up these issues, according to the thematic axes laid out below.

In each axis the focus will always remain on the concrete steps that are being taken towards transformation. 

Thematic Axes

  1. Capitalism, class, agriculture, livestock and fisheries.
  2. Climate Change and convergences.
  3. Models of development in the context of flows of capital, goods and people.
  4. Access and control over the means of production.
  5. Consumption, health, nutrition and the Right to Food.
  6. Movements for Food Sovereignty.

* Languages of this event: Basque, Spanish, English. Written papers will be accepted in any of the three, but they will not be translated. 

Forms of participation:

Presenter Send an abstract for the paper you will prepare about one (or a combination) of the 6 thematic axes described above, to be presented at the colloquium. Or send a proposal for an entire panel (4-6 abstracts and an overall concept note) Conference papers should not exceed 10,000 words and will be published on the Colloquium website 3 weeks before the event.

Propose a workshop This space will provide opportunities to participate in the colloquium using alternative methodologies or ways of communicating about these issues. Each workshop will have 1.5 hours and can consist of round table discussions, strategic meetings, trainings, art exhibits on related topics, or other ideas that you might wish to propose. There is no required written paper, just a 1-2 page proposal explaining your workshop idea.

Participant Come, listen, participate in debates, share ideas. Engage further in the construction of food sovereignty.

Important dates

  • Abstract submission deadline: 15 February 2017
  • Workshop proposal submission deadline: 15 February 2017
  • Confirmation/acceptance of abstracts and workshops: 28 February 2017
  • Final paper submission deadline: 20 March 2017

Registrations and submissions should be sent to the following email address:

The organizing committee:

  • Jun Borras (ISS/ICAS):
  • Unai Aranguren (EHNE Bizkaia/Etxalde/La Via Campesina)
  • Zoe Brent (TNI)
  • Xarles Iturbe (La Via Campesina):

List of confirmed speakers includes:

  • Unai Aranguren. País Vasco. La Via Campesina
  • Yan Hairong (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
  • Naseegh Jaffer. WFFP. World Forum of Fisher People
  • Henry Bernstein (University of London)
  • Dzodzi Tsikata (Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana)
  • Raj Patel (University of Texas, Austin, US)
  • Susan George (TNI) (tbc)
  • Alazne Intxauspe. Etxalde/EHNE Bizkaia
  • Ian Scoones (IDS Sussex)
  • Environmental Studies Centre. CEA. Vitoria-Gasteiz
  • Maria Jose Ainz Ibarrondo (UPV/EHU, Euskal Herria)
  • Raul Delgado Wise (University of Zacatecas, México)
  • Valter Israel da Silva (MPA, Brasil)
  • Jenny Franco (TNI)
  • Peter Rosset. ECOSUR. Colegio de la Frontera Sur. Chiapas. México.
  • Joan Martinez Alier. Catedrático de Economía e Historia Económica de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona
  • Mikel Hiribarren. ELB. ETXALDE.
  • Imanol Esnaola. GAINDEGIA Observatorio para el desarrollo socio-económico de Euskal Herria.
  • Ashlesha Khadse. Amrita Bhoomi. Zero Budget Farming.
  • Sofía Monsalve (FIAN)
  • Txetxu Nuñez (Carta de derechos sociales de Euskal Herria / Movimiento sindical).
  • Silvia Ribeiro. Grupo ETC.
  • Mamen Cuéllar. Andalucía
  • Anne Bellows (Univ. of Syracuse, US)
  • Jennifer Clapp (Univ. of Waterloo, Canada)
  • Marc Edelman (CUNY, US)
  • Silvia Perez Vitoria. Sociologist and Economist. La ligne d´Horizon.
  • Papa Bakary Coly, Papis. (CNCR) Senegal. (LVC)
  • Ohiana Etxebarrieta (Mov. Feminista EH)
  • Christina Schiavoni. ISS / ICAS
  • Annette Desmarais (Univ of Manitoba)
  • Nora McKeon (International University College, Turin/Rome 3 University)
  • David Barkin (UAM-X)
  • Glenn Stone (Washington U)