Introspecting food movements in Canada: Unpacking tensions towards justice and sustainability


  • Amanda Wilson Saint Paul University
  • Charles Z Levkoe Lakehead University



food movement, food systems, food sovereignty, social justice, social movement


Over the past decades there has been a notable growth in community-based food systems projects and successes. Despite these advancements, food insecurity, precarious food work, ecological degradation, and corporate conglomeration in the food sector all continue to increase, compounded by the ongoing impacts of white supremacy, patriarchy, settler colonialism. Recognizing these growing inequities, critical scholars have noted that too many food systems initiatives are overly concerned with influencing individual behaviours and a focus on narrow objectives. Furthermore, many approaches tend to overlook ways that food systems are embedded within political and economic structures that constrain their goals of social and environmental justice. These multiple challenges suggest that food movements are at a crossroads. This paper reflects on this pivotal moment through an analysis of key food movement actor’s perspectives on the progress and promises as well as emerging tensions for food movements in Canada. Through a series of interviews with individuals most prominent in food movement spaces, we explore key perspectives on the state of food movements and possibilities for future directions. Our findings paint a complex and nuanced portrait of what food movements have accomplished, tease out internal tensions, and identify questions facing their future prospects. The perspectives presented through our findings offer a path to transcend the critiques that position short-term strategic gains in opposition to longer-term systemic change. We suggest that food movements can overcome these challenges by embracing a more radical and expansive vision of social and environmental justice that is deeply embedded within food systems while also looking beyond them.

Author Biographies

Amanda Wilson, Saint Paul University

Amanda Wilson, Assistant Professor, School of Social Innovation, Saint Paul University, 223 Main Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 1C4 Canada, 613-236-1393, ext. 2114,

Charles Z Levkoe, Lakehead University

Charles. Z. Levkoe, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Rd., Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 5E1, Canada, (807) 346-7954,




How to Cite

Wilson, A. ., & Levkoe, C. Z. (2022). Introspecting food movements in Canada: Unpacking tensions towards justice and sustainability. Canadian Food Studies La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 9(2), 101–124.