What supports effective participation and voice? Preconditions for social justice in alternative food initiatives

Charlotte Prové, Joost Dessein, Michaël De Krom, Jahi Chappell

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePublished abstract


    Alternative food initiatives (AFIs) have arisen partially in response to analyses of the limits of the dominant (hegemonic) current food systems in terms of providing social justice and forums for collective responsible action inclusive of marginalized communities. On the same hand, a substantial body of critique has arisen on the limits and unfulfilled promises of AFIs to actually provide effective participation and social justice. In response to that, we will synthesize here the premises, experiences and critiques of AFIs to deepen existing perspectives on what conditions support the effective inclusion of marginalized voices/communities and can result in socially just outcomes. The piece uses cases from the U.S. and Europe dealing with urban agriculture initiatives analyzed through the prism of Fung and Wright’s framework of empowered participatory governance. Our synthesis reinforces the necessity of inclusion along with sufficient resources and collaborative support for marginalized voices in order to support socially just and effectively empowering outcomes. Without attention to these key issues, AFIs cannot fulfill their putative promises of transformation and will continue to be subject to assimilation and appropriation into the current socially unjust and hegemonic food system. The article also contributes to broader sustainability discussions and substantiate the debate by linking it to more critical discourses of justice and reflect on the implications of introducing justice in other contexts that North America.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventXXVII European Society for Rural Sociology Conference - Krakow, Poland
    Duration: 24-Jul-201727-Jul-2017


    ConferenceXXVII European Society for Rural Sociology Conference


    • B420-nutrition
    • Collective responsible action
    • justice
    • empowered participatory governance
    • urban agriculture
    • case studies


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