UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Improving well-being through food sovereignty : a meta-narrative literature review Wolff, Rebecca


Industrialized agriculture and food security interventions have failed to eliminate global hunger, while creating complex environmental, health, and well-being challenges. The food sovereignty movement, which recognizes the power imbalances and social inequities in the global food system, presents a new lens through which to design interventions to improve how agricultural practices impact individual and community well-being. This thesis project answered the following research question: how can food sovereignty frameworks incorporate assessments of health and well-being? This research contributes to the gap in our understanding of the importance of food sovereignty practices to health and well-being through a meta-narrative literature review. Four well-being narratives (environmental, physical, cultural-spiritual, and social-political-economic) were identified from the literature and used to develop a novel framework demonstrating the relationship between food sovereignty practices and multi-dimensional well-being outcomes. A set of n=37 indicators were developed and organized into four themes of environmental, physical, cultural-spiritual, and social-political-economic wellbeing, to assess the relationship between food sovereignty practices and multiple forms of well-being. This study demonstrates how the application of food sovereignty practices can influence the well-being of individuals, their environments, and communities. As well, the results of this work emphasize the importance of defining well-being holistically, rather than viewing well-being outcomes from a purely biomedical health perspective. This framework presents a way for future researchers, farmers, and agricultural organizations to begin measuring well-being outcomes that result from their food production practices.

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