Barriers to Urban Food Action—Relevance of Food Pedagogies

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Sustainability (Switzerland)


Cities strive to feed growing populations while at the same time minimize the environmental impacts of their food systems. To support cities to achieve their goals, they require systematic and practical actions, including identification of the needs and capacities of food practitioners to guide and support food-related policies and initiatives. This study aims to explore barriers to food-related actions in everyday settings and the potential of a food pedagogy framework to overcome such barriers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 39 experienced food leaders from diverse food-related areas in Australia. Thematic analysis identified six key themes related to weaknesses in food-related actions, including lack of: a broad understanding about food; acknowledgement of values of food in everyday lives; a broad pedagogical lens; a responsible entity; organizational supports; and coordination between stakeholders and communities. Existing national and global food initiatives were reviewed using a pedagogical framework to identify presence of these barriers to actions, together with strategies that aimed to avoid or diminish such barriers. The findings confirm that a pedagogical approach has potential to enhance the roles and capacities of food practitioners and provide support for government and community structures to achieve a common vision of healthy and sustainable urban food systems.

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