1st Edition

Community Food Initiatives A Critical Reparative Approach

Edited By Oona Morrow, Esther Veen, Stefan Wahlen Copyright 2022
    220 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines a diverse range of community food initiatives in light of their everyday practices, innovations, and contestations.

    While community food initiatives aim to tackle issues like food security, food waste, or food poverty, it is a cause for concern for many when they are framed as the next big "solution" to the problems of the current industrialised food system. They have been critiqued for being too neoliberal, elitist, and localist; for not challenging structural inequalities (e.g. racism, privilege, exclusion, colonialism, capitalism); and for reproducing these inequalities within their own contexts. This edited volume examines the everyday realities of community food initiatives, focusing on both their hopes and their troubles, their limitations and failures, but also their best intentions, missions, and models, alongside their capacity to create hope in difficult times. The stories presented in this book are grounded in contemporary theoretical debates on neoliberalism, diverse economies, food justice, community and inclusion, and social innovation, and help to sharpen these as conceptual tools for interrogating community food initiatives as sites of both hope and trouble. The novelty of this volume is its focus on the everyday doings of these initiatives in particular places and contexts, with different constraints and opportunities. This grounded, relational, and place-based approach allows us to move beyond more traditional framings in which community food initiatives are either applauded for their potential or criticized for their limitations. It enables researchers and practitioners to explore how community food initiatives can realize their potential for creating alternative food futures and generates innovative pathways for theorising the mutual interplay of food production and consumption.

    This volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of critical food studies, food security, public health, and nutrition as well as human geographers, sociologists, and anthropologists with an interest in food.

    Chapter 1: A critical reparative approach towards understanding community food initiatives: Acknowledging hopes and troubles

    Oona Morrow, Esther Veen, and Stefan Wahlen 

    Part 1: CFIs addressing social injustices and inequalities in urban food

    Chapter 2: Caring in unequal worlds: Tracing the hopes and troubles of Community Food Initiatives in Sydney

    Miriam Williams and Lillian Tait

    Chapter 3: Understanding vulnerability and resilience of urban food initiatives in Morocco

    Patrizia Pugliese, Cosimo Rota, Fatima Zohra Sabrane, Marie Reine Bteich, and Esther Veen

    Chapter 4: Spaces of hope and realities beyond the fence: Experiences of urban food providers in South Africa

    Anne Siebert

    Chapter 5: Good food for all? Navigating tensions between environmental and social justice concerns in urban community food initiatives

    Marit Rosol

    Part 2: Cooperatives, cooperation, and concerns in CFIs

    Chapter 6: Constraint and autonomy in the Swiss ‘local contract farming’ movement

    Jérémie Forney, Julien Vuilleumier, and Marion Fresia

    Chapter 7: Sustainability conventions in a local organic consumer cooperative in Norway: Hope and trouble of participants

    Hanne Torjusen and Gunnar Vittersø

    Chapter 8: The moral economy of community supported agriculture – hopes and troubles of farmers as community makers

    Felix Schilling, Stefan Wahlen, and Stéphenie Eileen Domptail

    Part 3: Commensality, social gatherings, and food knowledge in CFIs

    Chapter 9: White natures, colonial roots, walking tours, and the everyday

    Elaine Swan

    Chapter 10: Eating (with) the other: Staging hope and trouble through culinary conviviality

    Oona Morrow


    Oona Morrow is an assistant professor of rural sociology at Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

    Esther Veen is a professor of urban food issues at Aeres University of Applied Sciences Almere, the Netherlands.

    Stefan Wahlen is a professor of food sociology at the University of Giessen, Germany.

    "Now, more than ever, we need to recognise and support just and sustainable community food initiatives. This book brings important issues of maintaining hope while staying with the trouble of enacting community food initiatives in a fair and just manner. It opens up our attention to matters of justice around food including as well as beyond procedural and distributional issues to essential matters of reparation."

    Anna R. Davies, FTCD, MRIA, Professor of Geography, Environment & Society, Director Environmental Governance Research Group, Department of Geography, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland

    "How do the stories we tell about community food initiatives highlight or narrow their multiple ways of making culture and transforming political possibilities? This wide-ranging and comprehensively edited volume offers a variety of case studies that demonstrate the transformative work that community food initiatives envision and enact without shying away from acknowledging the ways that racial capitalism, hetero-patriarchy and neoliberalism constrain their approaches. This book reminds us that community food initiatives have much to offer as we combat the intersecting and inextricable social, environmental, and public health crises that shape this precarious moment."

    Alison Hope Alkon, Professor of Sociology, University of the Pacific