Measuring Progress Towards Food Sovereignty: Assessing Socio-Ecological Value in the Food System

Measuring Progress Towards Food Sovereignty: Assessing Socio-Ecological Value in the Food System

Project Team

Hannah Wittman, Professor, Academic Director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Faculty of Land and Food Systems; Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PI)

Lenore Newman, Canadian Research Chair, Food Security and the Environment; Faculty of Geography; Director, Agriurban Research Centre


Farm to School BC/PHABC, State University of Sao Paulo (UNESP), Brazil; Universidad Andina Simon Bolivarl Ecuador; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of the Fraser Valley


Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


About the Project

Farm to Institution (FTI) efforts aim to increase both public understanding of and connections to food systems and the amount of locally produced foods served by public institutions such as schools, colleges, hospitals, and community centres. FTI programs have a long history in many countries worldwide, and over the past decade in British Columbia (BC), many FTI projects have emerged in various communities across the province.

The CSFS Farm to Institution program’s objectives are to: 1) Understand and characterize the development and implementation of FTI programs in regional and global contexts, and the diverse motivations for the growth in FTI initiatives

2) Investigate and assess the particular role of mediated market interventions (public food procurement programs in Canada, Brazil and Ecuador) in meeting multiple social, economic, and ecological objectives while minimizing trade-offs.

3) Spur theoretical and applied innovation in the fields of food sovereignty and food systems governance, and develop a guide to best practices in food system transformation.

This project compares Brazil’s Public Food Acquisition Program (PAA); Ecuador’s Food Provision Program (PPA); Farm to School BC; and the National School Lunch Program (USA) in order to create and refine a robust indicator framework that can be used across geographic contexts and intervention categories.

External Links and Publications

Powell, L.J., Wittman, H. (2017). Farm to school in British Columbia: mobilizing food literacy for food sovereignty. Agriculture and Human Values, 35 (1): 193–206. https://doi:10.1007/s10460-017-9815-7.

Guerra, J., Blesh, J., Schmitt Filho, A.L., Wittman, H., 2017. Pathways to agroecological management through mediated markets in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 1–16. doi:10.1525/journal.elementa.248

Wittman, H., Blesh, J., 2017. Food Sovereignty and Fome Zero: Connecting Public Food Procurement Programmes to Sustainable Rural Development in Brazil. Journal of Agrarian Change 17, 81–105. doi:10.1111/joac.12131

Wittman, H., Chappell, M.J., Abson, D.J., Kerr, R.B., Blesh, J., Hanspach, J., Perfecto, I., Fischer, J., 2016. A social–ecological perspective on harmonizing food security and biodiversity conservation. Regional Environmental Change 17, 1291–1301. doi:10.1007/s10113-016-1045-9