Raising awareness and advocating change: The work of Nova Scotia food security NGOs
Keywords:Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, Food Security, Nova Scotia, Media Analysis, University Partnerships, Nongovernmental Organizations, NGOs, Community-based Organizations, CBOs
Although Nova Scotia nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have been working on local food security for many years, there is limited research that has analyzed their activities and impacts. Employing the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' (FAO) four dimensions of food security—food availability, food access, food utilization, and food stability—to guide data collection and analysis, we examined the work of nine Nova Scotia NGOs through document analysis, media analysis, and interviews with NGO representatives. We categorized the findings according to two broad themes of raising community awareness and conducting research/policy advocacy, and two more focused themes of partnerships and funding. We then discussed the rich array of food security “orientations” throughout the province, spanning community food security, household food insecurity, food justice, food sovereignty, and policy work. We found that the FAO’s four criteria, based as they are on larger scales (e.g., the national level), could not easily capture the myriad community-level food security work in Nova Scotia. We did note, however, that at the subnational level, indicators point to the continued dominance of the agri-food system in the province. We suggest that the relations forged by the food security NGOs with local universities and civic organizations could be reinvigorated in the post-COVID era with longer-term, joined-up sustainable food policy approaches coupled with institutional mapping of key actors.
Note: A slightly updated version of this article was posted on August 24, 2023
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Copyright (c) 2023 Gregory Cameron, Julia Roach, Steven Dukeshire, Delaney Keys
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