Civil society and social movements in food system governance
This book (PDF available) by Routledge examines and compares variety of governance innovations, at a range of scales, thereby offerig insights for those considering contemporary food systems and their ongoing transformation. As global food systems face multiple threats and challenges, there is an opportunity for social movements and civil society organizations to play a more active role in building social justice and ecological sustainability. Beyond developing place-based initiatives, many of these groups have worked to scale-up their activities to address broader policy and play a meaningful role in food systems governance. The authors address topics including: the variety of forms that governance engagement takes from multi-stakeholderism to co-governance to polycentrism/self-governance; the values and power dynamics that underpin these different types of governance processes; effective approaches for achieving desired values and goals; and, the broader relationships and networks that may be activated to support change. Key findings include: 1) Food movements are increasingly engaging in governance to have a wider and more systemic impact. 2) Food movements engage in governance at a variety of scales, though there is an emphasis on the local scale. 3) The variety of forms that governance engagement takes can be placed along a continuum, from multi-stakeholderism to co-governance to polycentrism/self-governance. 4) Building relationships with other actors based on mutual trust and commitment is central to achieving change. Food is an important level for social, economic and ecological change. Food movements should be understood as diverse, with different goals and strategies. The realm of co-governance between government and movement actos will likely become more important as food movements claim larger roles in decision-making.