Planting Possibilities: the contribution of community-based food collectives to food system sustainability

Ciska Ulug

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    362 Downloads (Pure)


    This thesis explores how community-based food collectives contribute to food system sustainability. A globalized and industrialized food system has resulted in destructive consequences for environments, public health, and local communities. In light of such ramifications, citizens are increasingly taking matters into their own hands. Community-based food collectives can be described as self-governing initiatives which address issues of food sustainability in their communities. This thesis explores such bottom-up initiatives, by asking, how do community-based food collectives contribute to food system sustainability? To explore these collectives, their governance, contextual enablers, and potential sustainability impacts, three kinds of community initiatives in the Netherlands and the US were researched. The initiatives include an organization working to combat food waste and three community gardens in the Netherlands, and three ecovillage communities in the United States.

    The findings propose that, firstly, community-based food collectives expand democratic and participatory spaces through experimental modes of (food) governance. Secondly, such collectives highlight the importance of place, including material as well as and non-material resources, networks and knowledge, for sustainable food system change. Lastly, community-based food collectives signal a changing tide in sustainability debates, one which indicates the rising wave of collective action for sustainable change.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Horlings, Ina, Supervisor
    • Trell-Zuidema, Elen, Co-supervisor
    Award date29-Nov-2021
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-83-954141-9-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Cite this