Plant Genetic Resources in an Age of Global CapitalismCanadian Food Studies / La Revue canadienne des études sur l’alimentation. Vol. 2, No. 2 (2015): 194-200.

Today, a new race to control the world’s plant genetic resources is well underway. Unlike the previous eras, this race is dominated by private rather than public interests, and operates at the genetic level rather than the level of the plant. In this paper, I sketch the global terrain of ownership of plant genetic resources, focusing on the key international agreements governing the legal landscape. I briefly outline the implications of this system, asking how the global terrain conditions struggle over conservation and agricultural biodiversity, access and benefit sharing, and community and farmers’ rights. I conclude by raising several areas for further research.

This paper was developed from a  presentation to a special workshop organized by the University of Waterloo in September 2015. The workshop brought together academics and representatives from civil society, non-governmental, and inter-governmental organizations to examine the state of the field of critical food studies.

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