Integrated Food Systems Governance
Scaling Equitable and Transformative Food Initiatives through Scholar-Activist Engagement
Community-based efforts to transform food systems involve a diverse range of actors and increasingly attempt to focus on public engagement in policymaking processes. These initiatives often emphasize opportunities for more participatory forms of engagement rooted in systems thinking, which recognizes the interconnections between environmental, social, and economic injustices. Similarly, food systems scholars are increasingly engaged in participatory action projects seeking to make productive linkages between academic research, policymakers, and community organizations in search of tangible food systems change. This collective essay, based on a roundtable discussion at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in New Orleans, describes integrated food governance processes currently underway—particularly those engaging anchoring institutions from civil society, government, and academia—to demonstrate both the promise and the challenges of networked governance efforts in pursuing more equitable food systems. In particular, we focus on how differing anchor institutions engage in translocal governance, coalition building, and adaptation. This research contributes to literature and practice on food systems governance, systems thinking, and anchoring institutions by proposing an analytical framework and providing a series of case studies of integrated governance initiatives for pursuing social and ecological justice in food systems.
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