Where to meet?

Andromeda, Clarion Congress & Hotel


Tomas Uhnak

Topic: People´s Food Policy: What can the state policies learn from Food Sovereignty and Agroecology?


For the working group 12 – Imagining better food futures´: Ethics, responsibility and Accountability in Food Systems I suggest a contribution with the title Feeding the nation: Food policy in an age of competing paradigms. It is based upon a MSc dissertation of the Food Policy programme at the City University London, from the year 2018.

The presentation will outline ways in which the state, interest groups, and alternative food movements in the Czech Republic frame narratives of food sufficiency, competitiveness, food sovereignty and agroecology. It argues, that the food policies are determined not only by their material and social conditions, but also by the prevailing patterns of values and beliefs which form larger consistent narratives, ideologies and paradigms. By interviewing 27 respondents and reviewing official government and social movement´s materials, the presentation will identify main features of the predominant narratives of food sufficiency and competitiveness in the past several decades. Apart from this dominant state-led paradigm, the presentation will outline an emerging narratives of food sovereignty and agroecology. The presentation will suggest preconditions necessary for a paradigm shift in the Czech Republic and will tackle the question whether and how is it possible to adopt radical (avantgarde) narratives that originate from the social movements into the state  policies.

Studying the paradigms enables us to understand deeper implications of the government´s and alternative´s food system approaches, its social and environmental role. The presentation will cover mainly following questions suggested by the convenors of the WG:

Expertise and policy: How are emerging ethical issues becoming part of food and agriculture policy agendas? How can policies leverage social norms to generate change in the food system? How and in what form is expertise convened and problematised to shape responsibility and accountability relations?

Policy and accountability: What are policy levers – law, standards, and incentives – relevant to the accountability of innovations and how do they mediate accountability constellations? What role does democratic accountability play in the governance of innovation and the problematisation and responsibilisation of policies?

Author of the presentation is a PhD student at the Czech University of Life Sciences, works as a food systems advisor in the Czech Pirate Party at the Parliament of the Czech Republic and is a member and co-founder of the food sovereignty movement in the Czech Republic.

Go back to the workgroup WG 12