Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 141–150 | Cite as

Community food security: Practice in need of theory?

  • Molly D. Anderson
  • John T. Cook


Practitioners and advocates of community food security (CFS) envision food systems that are decentralized, environmentally-sound over a long time-frame, supportive of collective rather than only individual needs, effective in assuring equitable food access, and created by democratic decision-making. These themes are loosely connected in literature about CFS, with no logical linkages among them. Clear articulation in a theoretical framework is needed for CFS to be effective as a guide for policy and action. CFS theory should delimit the level of analysis (i.e., what are the boundaries of “community”); show how CFS relates to individual, household, and national food security and explain emergent properties, which are important at the community level of analysis; point to the best indicators of CFS or its lack; clarify the determinants of CFS; and clarify the stages of movement toward CFS. This theoretical base would allow researchers to develop valid and reliable measures, and allow practitioners to weigh alternative options to create strategic plans. A theoretical base also would help establish common ground with potential partners by making the connections to anti-hunger work, sustainable agriculture, and community development clear.

Community food security Hunger Food security Food systems Planning Theory 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly D. Anderson
    • 1
  • John T. Cook
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Nutrition Science and PolicyTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

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