Latin American Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-7-2017


Food sovereignty and the role of the state, international organizations, and social movements in its defense have been deeply researched. However, the role of small-scale farmers who continue traditional agricultural methods reflecting tenets of the food sovereignty movement, has been neglected in its relation to food sovereignty. This work aims to connect the plant-based ecological relationships with small-scale farmers using food sovereignty as an analytical discourse. Specifically, this thesis explores the relationship between Ecuadorian Amazonian Quichua people and two staple crops: manioc and guayusa. Through a gendered and epistemological analysis of food sovereignty, it argues that under the politics of Ecuador’s state-sponsored right to food sovereignty, small-scale and everyday farmers unofficially promoting tenets of the food sovereignty movement challenge state-wide definition of food sovereignty. These localized food practices provide important lessons on how policy can be made to support food sovereignty at the scale of the community. By highlighting the contributions of Amazonian Quichua food practices, I challenge the co-optation of food sovereignty discourse currently promoted by the country of Ecuador.




Ecuador, food sovereignty, quichua, manioc, guayusa

Document Type


Degree Name

Latin American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Latin American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Laura Harjo

Second Committee Member

Chris Duvall

Third Committee Member

Marygold Walsh-Dilley