Framing Food Justice

In Jill Dieterle (ed.), Just Food: Philosophy, Justice and Food. New York: Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 3-20 (2015)
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Articulating an account of food justice in isolation from broader questions about sustainability would leave many important normative issues unaddressed. This chapter explores the reasons for thinking that questions of food justice need to be framed within the context of the broader set of social and environmental goals that comprise sustainability. An initial difficulty faced by this proposal is that many philosophers (among others) have viewed the concept and norm of sustainability with suspicion. Reasons for this range from concern about sustainability being hopelessly vague and hence useless for policy, to concern that interest in sustainability is just the latest cover for business as usual and thus a kind of betrayal of the environmental cause. While I believe such concerns are unconvincing, there is no question that sustainability is a contested concept—one that needs careful specification and defense if it is to do any work helping to frame discussions of food justice. This chapter maps three types of sustainability view, ranging from a minimalist to a very demanding view. Depending on the view of sustainability one adopts, there can be significantly different implications for how we should think about, and try to realize in practice, food justice. Some of these implications are explored with respect to each type of sustainability view sketched.
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