Yes, empowerment is key! I took a course at the end of college that was really eye-opening for me and showed me how, when a food becomes “trendy” (in the course, we focused on the example of quinoa) and therefore lucrative, there are a bunch of unfortunate ramifications for the local population producing that food:
1) They end up feeling pressured (“inspired?”) to sell more of it, even if that happens to be the most nutritional crop they produce (meaning, crappier-quality food for them because there is a huge financial incentive to ship it out to wealthy people elsewhere instead).
2) The substantially higher price tag they can charge for it encourages them to devote MORE land to it… which tends to translate into cultivating less of the other stuff… which translates into: a) less nutritional diversity for them, and b) diminished ecological diversity (if the shift takes place on a larger scale and other local plants get “crowded out” by the $$$-producing ones).
3) Some of these foods are not crops indigenous to the areas where they are being grown and thus (or even for unrelated reasons) are labor- or resource-intensive (e.g., quinoa under old methods was really hard to de-bitter; avocados and almonds require unbelievable amounts of water, etc.) — which translates into a more exhausting work life for the producers and maybe even adds to the resource sustainability problem humans are struggling with all over the world.
I blows my mind when I think about how intricate it and complicated all is. So I have a lot of respect and admiration for the people who work in agriculture and are actively thinking through all of these sustainability and empowerment questions! :)