Roots of Change: Food Sovereignty, Women and Eco-Justice

Roots of Change: Food Sovereignty, Women, and Eco-Justice
A Short Film by the Temple of Understanding

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Invite UN Main Representative Grove Harris to speak to your group: groveharris [at]


“We can no longer afford to keep women at bay, to keep them 
from the resources that they need to be able to grow food, 
to be able to feed their families, to be able to feed their communities,
to bring their knowledge and their leadership to the fore.”
–Grove Harris, Roots of Change


Roots of Change features women’s spirited calls to change our global direction. In this visually striking short film, women warn of the current realities and looming threats of food crisis, climate change, and corruption. Women’s leadership and ownership in local systems of food production are desperately needed–as is the collaboration of their husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons. This leadership and ownership is what is meant by food sovereignty.


Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”
–Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007


Through grassroots activism and transformation of global trade, people can work to curb exploitation of people and the planet. Foreign direct investment must be shaped to benefit women and Indigenous people. Additionally, people’s rights to commonly held resources such as water and agricultural land must be protected.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were designed to address the root causes of inequality. Both education and financial resources are required to address needs such as clean water and sanitation, nourishing food, and affordable clean energy. But the sustainability goals cannot be met without the full participation of women. Their effort and knowledge is needed to move forward, to develop diversified agricultural systems that will sustain humanity through the crisis of global climate change.

“The global movement to help shift corporate capitalism
and turn us towards a sustainable and just and peaceful future
will be led by women of color.” –Nina Simons, Roots of Change


Roots of Change
envisions a revolution in values that will result in clean water and nourishing food for all: a global culture in harmony with the environment that values relationships more than things. Only with a radical system shift that liberates the voices and bodies of women can we achieve a future that is healthy, diverse, peaceful, and whole.

Speakers in the film come from the Temple of Understanding’s events at the Commission on the Status of Women, the annual forum for advocacy on women’s issues at the United Nations.

“All these civil society movements, they want to help us
[the global South]. Don’t help us! Help yourselves. 
If you really become humane, you’re not going to allow
the extraction that’s happening to continue.
We don’t need advocacy. We need you to change your ways.”
–Rev. Marta Benavides, Roots of Change