We are very happy to announce the 2017 winner of the Thomas Marchione Food-as-a-Human-Right Student Award. This annual prize is awarded to a student whose work continues and expands Dr. Marchione’s efforts toward food justice, food security and access, and most directly, food as a human right. The award is presented to the awardee at the SAFN distinguished lecture and award ceremony at the annual AAA meetings (see our last blog entry for more information on that glorious event). The winner will receive a cash prize ($750 this year) and a one -year membership to the AAA and SAFN.
This year’s award goes to Paula Fernandez-Wulff, for her essay “Harnessing Local Food Policies for the Right to Food.” Paula Fernandez-Wulff is currently a Fulbright-Schuman Visiting Researcher at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and a Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Legal Sciences at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain, Belgium). Her current research focuses on the role of municipalities in implementing the right to food through local policies – with a particular eye to those policies aimed at supporting local initiatives and social movements at large. Trained as a lawyer in France and Spain, she also holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Governance from United Nations University (UNU-IAS) in Tokyo.
The abstract for her essay is below. Congratulations!
Harnessing Local Food Policies for the Right to Food
Local policy-makers, particularly in cities, are beginning to recognize the importance of developing food policies from a human rights perspective. While the right to food provides a unique counter-narrative to prevailing power imbalances, structural inequality, and injustices in the food system, experiences from different cities around the world show that translating these ideas into local policy is not an obvious task. One of the reasons behind this is that, despite identified opportunities, rights-based approaches to local food policies have not accounted for, on the one hand, recent developments in the right to food at the international and national levels, including new rights-based struggles and the opening of new human rights’ frontiers; and on the other, the exponential growth in territorialization processes (i.e. areas of increased actor interactions defined by place specific social relations and practices) with the food system at their core. This research project provides some answers by splitting the issue into two questions: (1) can a human rights-based approach to local food policies deliver on its promises, while evolving to integrate these new realities? And if so, (2) how can municipal governments leverage such approaches to successfully implement the right to food? The EU and the US are two regions prominently exploring the potential of local food policies from diametrically opposed perspectives. Using a ‘law in context’ approach, and based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in both regions, this research project will provide a comparative view on some of the processes behind key policies on both sides of the Atlantic. It will do so by focusing on recognized human rights principles such as accountability, nondiscrimination, and participation, but also emerging ones including social justice, empowerment and agency, and equity – all key features of the human right to food.