New Special Issue of Built Environment Journal Tackles Food Equity

Release of Special Issue of Built Environment: Planning for Equitable Urban and Regional Food Systems

(The text for this post includes information from both UB News Center and Alexandrine Press Blogged Environment.)

How does and can planning and design enhance the freedom and well being of marginalized actors in the food system – low-income residents, people of color, small-holder farmers, and refugees – the very people the alternative food movements purport to serve?

In this Special Issue of the journal Built Environment on “Planning for Equitable Urban and Regional Food Systems,” researchers from across the Global North and the Global South explore how planning and design disciplines can use food systems as a lever for broader economic and social transformation in marginalized communities. The eleven articles cover a range of topics, including: the importance of addressing inclusion in planning and design processes, the potential benefits of urban agriculture, and how rapid urbanization is creating unintended consequences in the food retail and food waste management sectors. Guest Editors Samina Raja, Kevin Morgan, and Enjoli Hall frame the issue with an editorial article that outlines three major oversights in planning practice that contribute to inequities and injustices in the food system:

  • Efforts to strengthen food systems rarely confront the historical factors that have contributed to a community’s food system failures;
  • Mainstream planning and design processes often overlook the voice of the marginalized people such planning efforts are intended to help; and
  • Food systems aren’t viewed as being a lever for broader social and economic change and equity.

Collectively, the papers in the issue raise questions about the nature of planners and designers’ engagement in city and regional food systems, and the ways in which such engagement impacts inclusion, equity, and justice. The authors raise clear, promising, practical ideas for the future of both food systems planning scholarship and practice that draw on unique perspectives and ideas of a broad range of food system stakeholders in diverse settings around the globe.

Access the Special Issue here.

The Special Issue is open access and available free of charge through the support of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.