Food sovereignty is closely linked to the overall sovereignty of a First Nation, suggests Robson. He shares a story of the Quapaw Nation. The Nation reclaimed their food sovereignty by slowly developing a food system they control, from raising bison and cattle to processing the meat products and growing vegetables, beekeeping, and roasting coffee.
“It’s about vertical integration of your food system – owning your value chain,” writes Robson. “This includes how the food is grown, processed, and distributed – it also includes the people who work along the steps of the food system, or value chain.”
The co-operative model aligns well with a desire for vertical integration and achieving sovereignty over a supply chain, and it has a proven track record of supporting producers in agriculture through value-add. The model also scales well, provides distributed ownership, and is controlled by the people who use the co-op.