Power to the people? Food democracy initiatives’ contributions to democratic goods

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Springer Nature
In order to foster a transition of the food system toward more sustainable outcomes, scholars have increasingly pointed at the need for organizing strengthened food democracy. By increasing the participation of citizens and food system actors, democratic innovations, such as food policy councils, are believed to promote the quality and legitimacy of food policymaking. However, the question of whether and how food democracy initiatives do indeed contribute to more democratic modes of governance largely remains unexplored. This study addresses this gap by performing a systematic literature review of the existing scholarship on food democracy, assessing democratic innovations for their contributions to four democratic goods: inclusiveness, popular control, considered judgment and transparency. The analysis shows that food democracy initiatives tend to be dominated by organized interests, have more influence on agenda-setting and implementation compared to decision-making, and generally aim for some form of deliberation or knowledge exchange. The precise selection mechanisms, processes and quality of deliberation, and transparency of democratic innovations remain important research gaps. The paper ends with a plea to better connect food democracy scholarship with the broader political sciences, as well as various suggestions for future research.
© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agriculture and Human Values, 2022, available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-022-10322-5 . Keywords: food democracy; food policy; democratic innovation; food system; food policy councils; transparency.
Candel, J.J.L. Power to the people? Food democracy initiatives’ contributions to democratic goods. Agric Hum Values 39, 1477–1489 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-022-10322-5