Practicing Food Sovereignty: Spatial Analysis of an Emergent Food System for the Standing Rock Nation
AbstractFood sovereignty is understood as the right to determine food systems, and the ability to exercise this right requires the capacity to obtain, produce, and distribute culturally relevant foods. In the Standing Rock Nation of the northern Great Plains, efforts to reclaim food sovereignty include projects to increase the availability of gathered and gardened plants that are necessary components of traditional foods. Toward this objective, a voucher-based food assistance program administered by the Standing Rock Tribe is helping elders obtain culturally meaningful foods while contributing to the growth of farmers' markets within the reservation. As program enrollment and market attendance increase, organizers are considering the spatial arrangement of food system components and its influence on accessibility and participation. Our GIS spatial analysis of voucher issuance and redemption patterns reveals that the minimum cost-distance to market explains 33% of variance in voucher redemption. In order to improve program equity and efficiency, cost-distance models are used to identify potential additional market locations that would reduce the effort associated with trips to market and thus encourage participation. These analyses and possible spatial solutions contribute a powerful tool to improve food-system planning and to enhance the food sovereignty of indigenous communities in rural areas.
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