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Food sovereignty in US food movements: radical visions and neoliberal constraints

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  • Alison Alkon

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  • Teresa Mares

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Abstract

Although the concept of food sovereignty is rooted in International Peasant Movements across the global south, activists have recently called for the adoption of this framework among low-income communities of color in the urban United States. This paper investigates on-the-ground processes through which food sovereignty articulates with the work of food justice and community food security activists in Oakland, California, and Seattle, Washington. In Oakland, we analyze a farmers market that seeks to connect black farmers to low-income consumers. In Seattle, we attend to the experiences of displaced immigrant farmers from Latin America and their efforts to address their food needs following migration. In both cases, we find that US based projects were constrained by broader forces of neoliberalism that remained unrecognized by local activists. In Oakland, despite a desire to create a local food system led by marginalized African Americans, emphasis on providing green jobs in agriculture led activists to take a market-based approach that kept local food out of the economic grasp of food-insecure neighborhood residents. In Seattle, the marginalization of the immense agroecological knowledge of Latino/an immigrant farmers rendered local food projects less inclusive and capable of transformative change. Taken together, these very different cases suggest that a shift towards food sovereignty necessitates a broad acknowledgement of and resistance to neoliberalism. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Alison Alkon & Teresa Mares, 2012. "Food sovereignty in US food movements: radical visions and neoliberal constraints," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 29(3), pages 347-359, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:29:y:2012:i:3:p:347-359 DOI: 10.1007/s10460-012-9356-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peck, Jamie, 2012. "Constructions of Neoliberal Reason," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199662081.
    2. Patricia Allen & Julie Guthman, 2006. "From “old school” to “farm-to-school”: Neoliberalization from the ground up," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), pages 401-415.
    3. Walden Bello, 2008. "How to Manufacture a Global Food Crisis," Development, Palgrave Macmillan;Society for International Deveopment, vol. 51(4), pages 450-455, December.
    4. Michael Chappell & Liliana LaValle, 2011. "Food security and biodiversity: can we have both? An agroecological analysis," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), pages 3-26.
    5. Peter Rosset, 2008. "Food Sovereignty and the Contemporary Food Crisis," Development, Palgrave Macmillan;Society for International Deveopment, vol. 51(4), pages 460-463, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marina Masso & Christos Zografos, 2015. "Constructing food sovereignty in Catalonia: different narratives for transformative action," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 32(2), pages 183-198, June.
    2. Yuki Kato & Laura McKinney, 2015. "Bringing food desert residents to an alternative food market: a semi-experimental study of impediments to food access," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), pages 215-227.
    3. repec:spr:agrhuv:v:34:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10460-017-9774-z is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:643-:d:96185 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:gam:jagris:v:7:y:2017:i:9:p:76-:d:111987 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jessica Clendenning & Wolfram H. Dressler & Carol Richards, 2016. "Food justice or food sovereignty? Understanding the rise of urban food movements in the USA," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), pages 165-177.
    7. Melissa N. Poulsen, 2017. "Cultivating citizenship, equity, and social inclusion? Putting civic agriculture into practice through urban farming," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), pages 135-148.
    8. Esther Sanyé-Mengual & Isabelle Anguelovski & Jordi Oliver-Solà & Juan Ignacio Montero & Joan Rieradevall, 2016. "Resolving differing stakeholder perceptions of urban rooftop farming in Mediterranean cities: promoting food production as a driver for innovative forms of urban agriculture," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), pages 101-120.
    9. Ina Opitz & Regine Berges & Annette Piorr & Thomas Krikser, 2016. "Contributing to food security in urban areas: differences between urban agriculture and peri-urban agriculture in the Global North," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), pages 341-358.
    10. Laurel Bellante, 2017. "Building the local food movement in Chiapas, Mexico: rationales, benefits, and limitations," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), pages 119-134.
    11. David McIvor & James Hale, 2015. "Urban agriculture and the prospects for deep democracy," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), pages 727-741.

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