Natural Resources and Commons

Reclaiming the right to natural resources and our Commons

“We oppose and struggle against the commodification, financialisation and patenting of our commons, such as: land; farmers’, traditional and reproducible seeds; livestock breeds and fish stocks; trees and forests; water; the atmosphere; and knowledge.” (Nyéléni Europe Declaration, August 2011)

Food sovereignty in Europe is directly related to the ability of its people to decide how and by whom agricultural resources are cared for. The commodification and privatisation of natural resources has expanded to extreme levels, impeding democratic control over these common goods and increasing their concentration in fewer hands. The disappearance of thousands of European farms every week, the concentration of resources in large farms and the rural exodus show that a change is urgently needed.

Access to land is a primary obstacle to achieving food sovereignty, which will require a great increase in the farming population. However, for those who do not come from farming families, finding land to farm can be extremely difficult. The increased industrialisation of European farming has made many farms untransferable to future generations because of their size, the price of the land and the obligation to contract high debts. Both within Europe and globally, land grabbing for agribusiness has also become a major problem.

To achieve food sovereignty, we need to reclaim our commons: land, seeds, livestock, water, knowledge, the atmosphere and food. We need to regain control and secure non-discriminatory access, control, and preservation over these resources.