Imaginative forms built through citizen engagement: Sustainable food systems as an ethics of care

Deborah Schrader, Lorelei L. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


In this paper we explore the potential of citizen imaginings associated with municipal food policy development to be utilized as building blocks towards the transformation to a more sustainable food system. We explore this potential through a case study of the development of "fresh, Edmonton's Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy." We start from a position advanced by Wendy Mendes (2008, 945) that in making and remaking the city, governmental institutions need to demonstrate greater flexibility and openness in their governance arrangements and institutional capacity, as well as "in how the city's imaginative form is reshaped and mobilized." We employ an ethics of care as an analytical frame in reading through in-depth interviews with citizens involved in the development of "fresh," focusing on their descriptions of sustainability and how to build a sustainable food system in Edmonton. Drawing attention to the ethics of care embedded in these imaginative constructions, we discuss how they can act as entry points into a social and economic transformation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul. 2015


  • Ethics of care
  • Sustainable food systems
  • Urban agriculture
  • Urban food strategy


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