Can Community-Based Initiatives Address the Conundrum of Improving Household Food Access While Supporting Local Smallholder Farmer Livelihoods?

  • Peter AndréeEmail author
  • Patricia Ballamingie
  • Stephen Piazza
  • Scott Jarosiewicz


Community food security (CFS) is widely defined as “a situation in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice ” (Hamm and Bellows 2003, 37). The CFS concept has also been widely adopted in Canada by community-based organizations, including public health units across Ontario, in their efforts to tackle household-level food insecurity while also supporting local efforts to (re)build sustainable agriculture. This chapter explores this conundrum at the heart of CFS: Can community-based initiatives help address household food insecurity and support fair livelihoods for local smallholder farmers? Our research shows that responding to both sets of needs through community-based initiatives is possible, and could be seen as an important step towards broader food system transformation based on a more cooperative approach to economic relations. However, the evidence also shows that these initiatives can prove challenging to organize and administer, and should not be seen as a substitute for income support provided by the state to the food insecure.


Community food security Farmer livelihoods Household food access Eastern Ontario 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Andrée
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patricia Ballamingie
    • 3
  • Stephen Piazza
    • 2
  • Scott Jarosiewicz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceInstitute of Political Economy, Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Political EconomyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Department of Geography & Environmental StudiesInstitute of Political Economy, Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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