Food Sovereignty in the City: Challenging Historical Barriers to Food Justice

In Ian Werkheiser & Zachary Piso (eds.), Food Justice in Us and Global Contexts: Bringing Theory and Practice Together. Cham: Springer Verlag (2017)
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Local food initiatives are steadily becoming a part of contemporary cities around the world and can take on many forms. While some of these initiatives are concerned with providing consumers with farm-fresh produce, a growing portion are concerned with increasing the food sovereignty of marginalized urban communities. This chapter provides an analysis of urban contexts with the aim of identifying conceptual barriers that may act as roadblocks to achieving food sovereignty in cities. Specifically, this paper argues that taken for granted commitments created during the birth of the modern city could act as conceptual barriers for the implementation of food sovereignty programs and that urban food activists and programs that challenge these barriers are helping to achieve the goal of restoring food sovereignty to local communities, no matter their reasons for doing so. At the very least, understanding the complexities of these barriers and how they operate helps to strengthen ties between urban food projects, provides these initiatives with ways to undermine common arguments used to support restrictive ordinances and policies, and illustrates the transformative potential of food sovereignty movements.

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Samantha Noll
Washington State University


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