Community-Based Action for Food Justice

  • Michele A. KelleyEmail author
  • Rachael D. Dombrowski
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


One of the most important public health issues of the new century is food justice, which is a special case of environmental justice, food access and health equity. Food justice encompasses a range of issues from assuring the production and distribution of healthy food in ways that promote local consumption and protect natural resources and human labor. Further, it also is concerned with community self-determination in food access and honors cultural sensitivity and cultural renewal in terms of how food is made available, and which food products are offered. Food justice goes beyond food security to address health equity in that available foods meet current dietary guidelines and foster healthy eating over the life span. Given the persistence of health inequities and the national and global obesity epidemic, this concept has emerged as highly salient for community health improvement, particularly in underserved, minority communities. This chapter will review the science and practice of community-based action to promote food justice, while examining the relationship between food justice and health equity. Two case studies will illustrate community-based responses to food justice, and highlight the social change processes therein. Discussion will show the relevance of food justice work to community-based health promotion initiatives. The chapter concludes with implications for building healthier communities and utilizing knowledge from food justice efforts, noting potential contributions from public health social scientists.


Food justice Food systems Healthy food access Health equity 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Health, Division of Community Health SciencesUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoIllinoisUSA
  2. 2.College of Education, Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies, Community HealthWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA

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