Topic: Strategies for food justice in Portugal: debate ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit

October 14, 2020, 15h00 (GMT +01:00)



The research project JUSTFOOD-From Alternative Food Networks to Environmental Justice is organizing a series of participatory workshops on the dimensions of in-justice in the food system and the contribution of peasants’ organizations and alternative food movements (AFMs) in building more ‘just’ and sustainable food systems. JUSTFOOD investigates the ‘just sustainability’ dimension of food systems in Europe by looking at how AFMs may foster this dimension, and what the challenges in cultivating ‘just food’ are. The project focuses on the study of peasant movements and AFMs in Romania and Portugal, two peripheral countries of Europe. The series of participatory workshops aims to critically discuss research findings and policy recommendations with key stakeholders in both countries.


Description and Objective

COVID-19 has laid bare many of the problems with the global food. As the UN policy brief on COVID-19, states: “There is an urgent need to rethink rapidly how we produce, process, market, consume our food and dispose of waste. This crisis can serve as a turning point to rebalance and transform our food systems, making them more inclusive, sustainable and resilient.”

In Portugal, the closing of borders highlighted the risks of high dependence from food imports; the concentration of the distribution sector exposed the vulnerability of food workers, most of them precarious, as well as of consumers; the model of industrial and capitalist agriculture revealed the precarity of farmworkers’ rights, many of them immigrants; and food prices increases in the midst of a crisis, while on-farm prices declined, revealed the fallacy of ‘cheap food’ for all. While consumers showed increased preference for local, fresh, quality food in local markets, sanitation rules inflicted restrictions to local sales (not applied to large retailers) that is endangering the livelihoods of many small-scale family farmers (and the access to quality food to many). At the same time, food insecurity is increasing, especially in major urban centers. Given that smallholders and family farmers are the majority of the agricultural population, their difficulties will add to the many problems of unemployment, poverty, depopulation, land abandonment, forest fires, etc., already affecting rural areas.

This webinar brings together peasant, rural women and immigrant farmworker organizations in order to assess the structural obstacles to food justice in the Portuguese food system; and to spark a conversation about the local and international strategies needed to address them.

Key guiding questions:

  1. How un-equal and un-sustainable is the food system in Portugal?
  2. What strategies are needed to rebuilding more just and sustainable food systems?

Invited speakers

Alfredo Campos, CNA – National Confederation of Agriculture, member of the European Coordination of Vía Campesina
Laura Tarrafa, MARP – Association of Farmer and Rural Women
Alberto Matos, SOLIM – Association Solidarity with Immigrants

Commentator: Cerca Miguel, GPP – Public Policies Office, Ministry of Agriculture



Introduction and presentation of JUSTFOOD – Sérgio Pedro, member of the project

Presentation of key results of the project in relation to Portugal – Rita Calvário, main researcher for the case study in Portugal

Panel discussion – invited speakers

Facilitated discussion - Q&A from the audience

Wrap up and conclusion – moderator and speakers


Organisation: JUSTFOOD, Centre for Social Sutudies, University of Coimbra