In order to provide a sound foundation for the transition towards sustainable food systems, the very nature of food as a pure private good is contested and subsequently reversed in this paper, proposing a re-conceptualisation of food as a common good, a necessary narrative for the redesign of the dominating agro-industrial food system that merely sees food as a tradable commodity. This aspirational transition shall lead us to a more sustainable, fairer and farmer-centred food system. The idea of the commons is applied to food, deconstructing food as a pure private good and reconstructing it as an impure commons that can be better produced and distributed by a hybrid tri-centric governance system compounded by market rules, public regulations and collective actions.
He proposes or revives such ideas as “social charters” and “food trusts” adopted by local communities or associations. Such “decentralized, self-governing systems of food production” would provide fairer access, higher efficiency and greater concern for externalities in food production, than the market would provide. The “re-commonification of food shall take several generations,” predicts Vivero Pol, so he offers a number of transition strategies for the commons, government and market sectors.
It’s refreshing to read such imaginative yet rigorous scholarship about food as a commons and how the concept might be practically advanced. Policymakers, politicians and commoners would all benefit from exploring the concepts that Vivero Pol proposes.”