An appreciative inquiry and inventory of Indigenous food sovereignty initiatives within the western U.S.




Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Appreciative Inquiry, Systematic Search, Inventory, Interconnection, Adaptability, Cultural Revitalization, Western United States


Indigenous food sovereignty is informed by—and is a framework and movement that supports—all the various means through which Indigenous peo­ple are revitalizing and reclaiming their traditional foodways. These efforts incorporate established values, pro­cesses, and outcomes, including rela­tionality, self-determination, decolonization, and wellbeing. Through appreciative inquiry, this re­search inven­tories Indigenous food sovereignty initiatives in the western United States and identi­fies their common themes and key features. A systematic search of scholarly and popular sources yielded a database of 123 initiatives that vary by type, land base, and geo­graphic location. Three themes emerged across ini­tiatives. First, concrete strategies include growing and food production, harvesting and food acquisi­tion, food preparation, and distribution and ex­change. Second, cultural revitalization occurs through community develop­ment, youth and young adult education, other forms of education, and regenerating cultural iden­tity through tradi­tions. Finally, initiative founda­tions include advo­cacy, policy, and environmental stewardship; fund­ing mechanisms; and partner­ships with non-Indigenous actors. Across themes, individual initia­tives include numerous intercon­nected food sover­eignty efforts and demonstrate the adaptive capaci­ties of Indigenous people. This research compiles and aims to respectfully celebrate the myriad ways Indigenous people in the western U.S. are revitaliz­ing their foodways as part of a larger movement toward Indigenous food sovereignty.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Ashley Babcock, University of Wyoming

Graduate Student, Science and Mathematics Teaching Center and Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources

Rachael Budowle, University of Wyoming

Assistant Professor, Community Resilience and Sustainability, Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources



How to Cite

Babcock, A., & Budowle, R. (2022). An appreciative inquiry and inventory of Indigenous food sovereignty initiatives within the western U.S. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 11(2), 135–160.