Social justice‑oriented narratives in European urban food strategies: Bringing forward redistribution, recognition and representation

Sara Smaal, Joost Dessein, Barend J. Wind, Elke Rogge

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA1: Web of Science-artikelpeer review


More and more cities develop urban food strategies (UFSs) to guide their efforts and practices towards more sustainable
food systems. An emerging theme shaping these food policy endeavours, especially prominent in North and South America,
concerns the enhancement of social justice within food systems. To operationalise this theme in a European urban food governance context we adopt Nancy Fraser’s three-dimensional theory of justice: economic redistribution, cultural recognition and political representation. In this paper, we discuss the findings of an exploratory document analysis of the social justiceoriented ambitions, motivations, current practices and policy trajectories articulated in sixteen European UFSs. We reflect on the food-related resource allocations, value patterns and decision rules these cities propose to alter and the target groups they propose to support, empower or include. Overall, we find that UFSs make little explicit reference to social justice and justice-oriented food concepts, such as food security, food justice, food democracy and food sovereignty. Nevertheless, the identified resources, services and target groups indicate that the three dimensions of Fraser are at the heart of many of the measures described. We argue that implicit, fragmentary and unspecified adoption of social justice in European UFSs is problematic, as it may hold back public consciousness, debate and collective action regarding food system inequalities and may be easily disregarded in policy budgeting, implementation and evaluation trajectories. As a path forward, we present our plans for the RE-ADJUSTool that would enable UFS stakeholders to reflect on how their UFS can incorporate social justice and who to involve in this pursuit.
Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
TijdschriftAgriculture and Human Values
Pagina's (van-tot)709–727
Aantal pagina’s19
PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 16-aug.-2021


  • B410-landbouwhydrologie


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