The politics of urban agriculture

Sustainability, governance and contestation

Authored by: Nathan McClintock , Christiana Miewald , Eugene McCann

The Routledge Handbook on Spaces of Urban Politics

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138890329
eBook ISBN: 9781315712468
Adobe ISBN:


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The Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House (DTES NH) is a community services centre in a low-income neighbourhood of Vancouver, British Columbia. Like many organizations of its type, its programmes are based on a set of principles – an ‘operating philosophy’ – of inclusivity and activism. Unlike most, the neighbourhood house also articulates a separate, if related, ‘food philosophy’:

Food is a key determinant of individual and community health – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. We take every modest opportunity to remind DTES Residents of our Right to quality food. We use the offering of food to reflect back upon our neighbours their inherent dignity, deservedness and welcome within the DTES NH.

(Right To Food Zine 2016) Food, in its production, its consumption and its associated meanings, is clearly central to sustenance for the DTES NH, as it is for all of us. What their food philosophy makes clear, furthermore, is that food is also fundamentally political.

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