This article reviews and synthesizes critical literature in the areas of food, leisure, sustainability and community economic development to answer the question of whether we can eat our way to sustainability. It begins with the work of John Loxley and his approach to community economic development, by emphasizing linkages, leakages and leveraging. It then turns to the imprecise concept of sustainability and gives it a more precise meaning, linking it with McMurtry’s idea of the civil commons. The article goes on to apply this new meaning to three important terms: sustainable leisure, sustainable communities and sustainable community economic development. With these understandings in place, it then examines four examples of using leisure activities in the realm of food to support sustainable community economic development: community gardens, community-supported agriculture, gleaning and community kitchens. The article concludes that we can indeed eat our way to sustainability if we choose food-related leisure activities that enable others to eat as well.
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