PRF - The right to food and politics of knowledge


  • Philip McMichael Cornell University



right to food, land grab, civil society


This article concerns a particular struggle over the right to food, as played out recently in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), within the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). As a relatively new participant in the CFS, the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM), representing land-using social movement organizations and progressive non-governmental organizations (NGOs), was successful in 2010 in convincing the CFS to reject investor-driven Principles of Responsible Agriculture Investment (PRAI)2formulated under World Bank leadership. Instead the CFS would consider a producer rights-driven reformulation of “responsible agricultural investment” (rai) (CFS, 2014). In its initial drafting, the rai was framed as a rights-based initiative through which all states could implement domestic forms of food security and nutrition. Over the two years of development of the rai principles, it became increasingly clear that the “right to food” concept informed quite different visions of how to stimulate “food security”.

Author Biography

Philip McMichael, Cornell University

Professor and Chair

Department of Development Sociology




How to Cite

McMichael, P. (2015). PRF - The right to food and politics of knowledge. Canadian Food Studies La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 2(2), 52–59.