Urban Food Systems and Food Movements

I am interested in the rapid increase in the United States in efforts to reshape urban food systems. With concerns running the gamut across culturally, economically, environmentally, politically, and socially deleterious outcomes associated with the food system, there are many avenues my research explores. Driving my inquisitiveness is an interest in the values that inform the development of alternatives to capitalist industrial agriculture and its assemblage of ideologies, legal and regulatory arrangements, and social hierarchies that fail to equitably nourish all people. What I have found is that the city is a strategic spatial container within which to chronicle how people connect their values to specific forms of mobilization. It also allows for more finely tracking the role of structural factors, like labor and land use laws, local political contests, economic trends, and demographic influences.

Social movements are responding to these conditions. As a social movement scholar, I am also interested in some of the classic questions that drive this area of research including, when and why do social movements occur, who joins and supports social movements, what do activists think and feel, how are social movements organized, what do social movements do, how do institutions influence social movements, and what changes do social movements bring about. In my focus on urban food systems, food justice, and political economy and critical race theory, I integrate a social movement lens that is concerned with the conditions of grassroots mobilization.

I am currently working on a project to map urban food movement networks in Denver, Colorado to understand reasons for movement cohesion and division. This will result in numerous peer reviewed journal articles.

My research on urban food systems and food movements appears in journals such as Agriculture and Human Values, Critical Sociology, and Journal of Rural Studies as well as numerous edited volumes.