Agriculture and Human Values 35 (1):193-206 (2018)

Farm to school programs have been positioned as interventions that can support goals of the global food sovereignty movement, including strengthening local food production systems, improving food access and food justice for urban populations, and reducing distancing between producers and consumers. However, there has been little assessment of how and to what extent farm to school programs can actually function as a mechanism leading to the achievement of food sovereignty. As implemented in North America, farm to school programs encompass activities not only related to school food procurement, but also to the development of student knowledge and skills under the framework of food literacy. Research on farm to school initiatives has largely been conducted in countries with government-supported national school feeding programs; this study examines farm to school organizing in Canada, where there is no national student nutrition program. Using qualitative fieldwork and document analysis, we investigate the farm to school movement in British Columbia, in a context where civil society concerns related to education and health have been the main vectors of farm to school mobilization. Our analysis suggests that, despite limited institutional infrastructure for school meals, the British Columbia farm to school movement has contributed toward realizing goals of food sovereignty through two main mechanisms: advocacy for institutional procurement of local and sustainable foods and mobilizing food literacy for increased public engagement with issues of social justice and equity in food systems.
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DOI 10.1007/s10460-017-9815-7
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