Prof. De Schutter Discusses Food Systems Reform

On November 30, 2016, The Food Law Society and the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy held a discussion with Olivier De Schutter, Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Professor De Schutter is also a professor at the University of Louvain (Belgium) and at SciencesPo (France) and  has been a member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights since 2015. He also served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food from 2008 to 2014.

Professor De Schutter’s talk, “Food Systems Reform: Changing Society Without Seizing Power,” shared potential social and political strategies to create a more sustainable and resilient mainstream food system. He summarized existing social change theory and offered his own insight to suggest that top-down food system change through political actors and the economic elite is an insufficient strategy to bring about long-term solutions. Instead, De Schutter argued that long-term transitions in the food system will stem from the development of local democratic systems and innovations. These local, grassroots efforts, such as local Food Policy Councils and Community Supported Agriculture programs, will allow a diverse group of individuals to more deeply understand and control their roles and responsibilities in food systems and ensure that food system decisions are made by communities themselves, not just by political leaders.