Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 117–129 | Cite as

Reweaving the food security safety net: Mediating entitlement and entrepreneurship

  • Patricia Allen


The American food system has produced both abundance and food insecurity, with production and consumption dealt with as separate issues. The new approach of community food security (CFS) seeks to re-link production and consumption, with the goal of ensuring both an adequate and accessible food supply in the present and the future. In its focus on consumption, CFS has prioritized the needs of low-income people; in its focus on production, it emphasizes local and regional food systems. These objectives are not necessarily compatible and may even be contradictory. This article describes the approach of community food security and raises some questions about how the movement can meet its goals of simultaneously meeting the food needs of low-income people and developing local food systems. It explores the conceptual and political promise and pitfalls of local, community-based approaches to food security and examines alternative economic strategies such as urban agriculture and community-supported agriculture. It concludes that community food security efforts are important additions to, but not subsitutes for, a nonretractable governmental safety net that protects against food insecurity.

Anti-hunger efforts Community food security Community supported agriculture Localism Participatory democracy Urban food production 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.Sustainable Food Systems, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food SystemsUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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