Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 313-325

First online:

Eating Outside the Box: FoodShare’s Good Food Box and the Challenge of Scale

  • Josée JohnstonAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Toronto Email author 
  • , Lauren BakerAffiliated withFaculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The concept of scale is useful in analyzing both the strengths and limitations of community food security programs that attempt to link issues of ecological sustainability with social justice. One scalar issue that is particularly important but under-theorized is the scale of social reproduction, which is often neglected in production-focused studies of globalization. FoodShare Toronto's good food box (GFB) program, engages people in the politics of their everyday lives, empowering them to make connections between consumption patterns and broader political-economic, cultural, and political-ecological issues. Community food security (CFS) projects such as the GFB are currently limited in their scope and reach and have been criticized for their inability to deliver food to a larger segment of marginalized, hungry people. A central dilemma for CFS projects is how to engage the majority of urban consumers who still eat “inside the box” of the industrial food system. We argue that the concept of scale helps clarify how CFS projects must “scale out” to other localities, as well as “scale up” to address structural concerns like state capacity, industrial agriculture, and unequal distribution of wealth. This requires the state and the third sector to recognize the importance of multi-scaled food politics as well as a long-term pedagogical project promoting ecological sustainability, social responsibility, and the pleasures of eating locally.

Key words:

Canada Community food security Good food box program Scale Social justice Social reproduction Third sector Toronto