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Community context of food justice: reflections on a free local produce program in a New Orleans food desert

1 Department of Sociology, Tulane University, USA
2 Department of Sociology, Georgetown University, USA

Special Editions: Elucidating the Specifics of Food Security: Diverse Challenges, Differing Perspectives and Ranges of Solutions

Food justice discourse has emerged partly in response to the critique of alternative food networks during the last decade, but its justice conceptualization tends to be too narrowly focused on food-related injustices rather than broader social injustices that shape food access and food sovereignty, a gap we address. Our analysis of a semi-experimental free local food program we administered in a New Orleans food desert demonstrates that several community context factors shape the residents’ access to a local food market in this neighborhood: fragmented social ties, digital and generational divides, perpetual infrastructural failure, and the location of the market within the neighborhood. We argue that food justice discourse needs to incorporate social and cultural community contexts in its operationalization of food access and sovereignty, especially regarding how the latter concept is defined and executed in practice.
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Keywords food justice; alternative food networks; food desert; community

Citation: Laura McKinney, Yuki Kato. Community context of food justice: reflections on a free local produce program in a New Orleans food desert. AIMS Agriculture and Food, 2017, 2(2): 183-200. doi: 10.3934/agrfood.2017.2.183

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Copyright Info: © 2017, Laura McKinney, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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