A moveable feast: Exploring barriers and enablers to food citizenship

Gabrielle O'KANE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the ability of the globalised food system to deliver varied and plentiful food supplies to most in the developed world it also disconnects consumers from where, how and by whom food is grown, which discourages food citizenship. This paper uses an ecological framework to examine the individual, social, physical and macro-level environments that can positively or negatively influence peoples’ engagement with food citizenship. This research used narrative inquiry methodology and purposive sampling to gather stories through focus group conversations. Fifty-two people voluntarily attended focus groups comprised of food procurers from one of five sources: community gardens, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), farmers’ markets, fresh food markets or supermarkets. A narrative was constructed for each of these groups of food procurers; their commonalities and particularities were illuminated through a final interpretive narrative. The findings showed that the community gardeners exhibited a range of personal characteristics that prioritised engagement with local food systems. The physical setting of the community garden enabled the gardeners to make connections to the earth and the people within their social networks. The CSA and farmers’ market groups were cognisant of the implications of their food choices and usually proved to be food citizens, as they selected seasonal, local and ethically produced food from their farmer(s). The fresh food market shoppers were ambivalent towards organic and seasonal food and the market setting did not connect them directly to the provenance of their food. The supermarket shoppers’ disconnection from those who grew their food and where it was grown disempowered them from making sustainable food choices. Adjustments to the macro-level food environment are needed to enable people to have a greater commitment to food citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-687
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'A moveable feast: Exploring barriers and enablers to food citizenship'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this