Systems of Food and Systems of Violence: An Intervention for the Special Issue on “Community Self Organisation, Sustainability and Resilience in Food Systems”

Mama D. Ujuaje, Marina Chang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    73 Downloads (Pure)


    This intervention critiques the rationale which underpins the authority of the food system as a context for sustainability, resilience and self-organisation. We apply learning from embodied practice, in particular The Food Journey©, to demonstrate the existence of harm and trauma arising from the overrepresentation of the liberal model of Man as constituting the only reality of humanity. This model has, in reality been a colonial, capitalising force of violent dispossession. It is this context that has produced global circulations of agricultural produce, systematised by a colonialism which violates the integrity of all that it encounters as different. Colonialities of being, power and knowledge extract and exploit globally both people and places as legacies of colonialism and perpetuate an abyssal divide between worlds. We unsettle and reconfigure both geopolitical contemporary and historic accounts of food-related narratives. We do this to help reveal how the ‘food system’ is actually a mainly Euro-American-centred narrative of dispossession, presented as universal. We propose the use of decolonial tools that are pluriversal, ecological and embodied as a means of interrogating the present system design, including its academic and field practice. The embrace of decolonial tools have the potential to take us beyond mere emancipation, cutting through old definitions and understandings of how food sovereignty, farm production, land justice and food itself are understood and applied as concepts. The outcome—as a continuous process of engagement, learning and redefinition—can then lead us towards a relational pluriverse as an expression of freedom and full nourishment for all humans and for the Earth, which is, in itself, a necessary healing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7092
    Number of pages31
    Issue number17
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2020

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


    • food system
    • coloniality
    • pluriversal
    • nourishment
    • systemic trauma
    • overrepresentation
    • Coloniality
    • Overrepresentation
    • Pluriversal
    • Nourishment
    • Food system
    • Systemic trauma

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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