The Food Justice Movement: Discourses of Urban Gardening in New York City

Anna Glasser

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The following research project sets out to discover how the food justice movement represents the current U.S. food system and what types of alternative discourses the movement constructs. While the struggle for food justice is a phenomenon that can be identified on both the national and global level this project examines the food justice movement from a locally grounded context, looking at urban gardens in the New York metropolitan area. The project draws upon an interdisciplinary theoretical framework that examines the intersection between social movements, food justice, communication, and social change. The project’s analytical approach combines two empirical pathways. The first analytical section analyzes a number of interviews with urban gardeners and urban gardening organizations conducted while on a field study in the New York metropolitan area. The second analytical section embarks on a text analysis of sixty-four articles from the four most widely circulated New York City on-line newspapers. Combining these two approaches is meant to create a deeper understanding of the food justice movement, as well as highlight the importance of communicative processes in creating food systems change. The analysis revealed that the food justice movement, approached from an urban gardening lens is concerned with creating new knowledge and structures within the food system. Representations of problems with the U.S. food system stemmed beyond just problems with food production and consumption. The project identified three overarching discourses that saw urban gardens as an important part of bringing about: (1) social and cultural; (2) political; and (3) environmental and health changes to the U.S. food system. Food systems change should take all these dimensions into consideration to create a sustainable difference. The thesis concludes that communication, along with a broad shift in cultural values and institutional policies are vital processes in creating knowledge and dialogue that can help contribute to redefining the current food system.

UddannelserKommunikation, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2011


  • Food Justice, Communication for Social Change, Media Discourse, Social Movements, Food systems