Understanding social economy through a complexity lens: Four case studies in Northwestern Ontario

Four Case Studies

  • Connie Nelson Lakehead University
  • Mirella L. Stroink Lakehead University, Dept of Psychology
  • Charles Z. Levkoe Lakehead University
  • Rachel Kakegamic Lakehead University School of social work
  • Esther McKay Lakehead University, Northern Environments and Cultures
  • William Stolz Lakehead University, Northern Environments and Cultures
  • Allison Streutker Lakehead University, Dept of Psychology
Keywords: social economy, foraging, co-op

Abstract

Broadly described, the social economy refers to a series of initiatives with common values representing explicit social objectives. The roots of social economy organizations predate the neoliberal economy and are integral to the human condition of coming together in mutual support to address challenges that benefit from collective efforts. Drawing on a complexity science approach, this paper analyzes four case studies situated in Northwestern Ontario—blueberry foraging, Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op, Willow Springs Creative Centre and Bearskin Lake First Nations—to demonstrate key features of social economy of food systems. Their unifying feature is a strong focus on local food as a means to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits for communities. Their distinct approaches demonstrate the importance of context in the emergence of the social economy of food initiatives. In the discussion section, we explore how these case study initiatives re-spatialize and re-socialize conventional food system approaches.

Published
2019-11-29
How to Cite
Nelson, C., Stroink, M., Levkoe, C., Kakegamic, R., McKay, E., Stolz, W., & Streutker, A. (2019). Understanding social economy through a complexity lens: Four case studies in Northwestern Ontario. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur L’alimentation, 6(3), 33-59. https://doi.org/10.15353/cfs-rcea.v6i3.357
Section
Original Research Article