What role for trade in food sovereignty? Insights from a small island archipelago

Jessica Paddock*, Alastair Michael Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
362 Downloads (Pure)


The food sovereignty movement has been gathering momentum in advocating the rights of individuals and nations to control their own food systems. Alongside this is a mounting critical engagement regarding its privileging of local food production as the means through which to achieve this goal. Adopting a place-based approach, we explore the foodways of diverse communities across a small island archipelago – the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies. Based on interviews and focus groups, we unpack narratives relating to islanders’ changing food practices and aspirations. These are understood as two competing but inter-related themes of disruption and reification of current practices shaped by wider food regimes in interaction with ecological challenges. Given that conditions of historic dependency implicate the islands in a myriad of dependent trade relationships, we argue that small island economies offer, and require, unique cases for understanding how sovereign conditions for trade might be developed in line with a food sovereignty framework. We underline the importance of an inter-disciplinary focus for bringing forth a nuanced understanding of what might be required to shape more sustainable, sovereign and secure food futures. Doing so is necessarily rooted in an appreciation of islanders’ accounts of social, economic, political and ecological change over time.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Early online date10 Feb 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2017

Structured keywords

  • Food Justice Network


  • agriculture
  • consumption
  • food sovereignty
  • place
  • production
  • small island states
  • trade


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