Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date

Summer 2021


Food System, Food Sovereignty, Food Security, Local, Community-Based Organizations, Stevenson Center


This paper begins by discussing and distinguishing the various food movements: food security, food justice, and food sovereignty. Utilizing social capital theory and the principles of food sovereignty, this paper brings attention to the power of community-based organizations (CBOs) and highlights their unique positioning within the food system. This paper analyzes a sample of community-based organizations working within the food system in the United States of America. Drawing upon original data collected through interviews with nine individuals associated with different CBOs working within the food system, this research finds that CBOs are uniquely suited to make change in their local food systems because of their community ties and sense of responsibility to their neighbors. This study also presents findings that support the value of the food sovereignty movement to CBOs and to overall food system reform. These concepts are demonstrated in analyzing CBOs’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper concludes by offering a way forward to ensure a better food future, guided by local organizations and food sovereignty.