At the intersection of marine conservation and social, economic, environmental and food justice

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How do you define family farmers and fishermen?

It's the International Year of Family Farming, according to the United Nations. 

They write: "The 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) aims to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on its significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas."

But how we define "family farms" is an important way of understanding agriculture, write our partners at Farm Aid. For Farm Aid, family farmers are those families who "exercise ownership and control" over their farm and the decisions they make regarding their business. 

But it's not just family farmers who are struggling in a system that is increasingly consolidated and controlled by corporate interests - family fishermen are, too. 

But if we have to dig deeper when we're talking about farmers, it pays to start a dialogue about family fishermen as well. 

How do you define "family fishermen?" Let us know in the comments. 


  1. I use the phrase "fisherfolk" a lot, for that kind of fisherman/fisherwoman. Another could be "community-based fisherfolk" or "sustainable family fisherfolk" Have net and arms and aim to feed my family without harming the fish stock!

    Stephen Bartlett
    Ag Missions
    US Food Sovereignty Alliance