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Special Issue "Food Sovereignty, Food Security, and Sustainable Food Production"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Catherine Keske

School of Engineering, University of California-Merced, Merced, CA 95343, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: agricultural and resource economics; food security and food sovereignty; biomass, bioenergy and biochar; land conservation and management; law and economics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue focuses on empirical research that contributes to the interdisciplinary study of food sovereignty, food security, and sustainable food production.

Producing food in an environmentally, economically, and socially acceptable manner to meet the increasing demands of a growing population is a grand challenge for agricultural production. Sustainable food production balances people, planet, and profit, though stakeholders often have different interpretations about acceptable trade-offs between the three dimensions.

Social and natural scientists often point to the World Food Summit’s 1996 definition of “food security” as a goal that is synchronous with achieving a sustainable food system. However, there are clear downsides associated with this definition that essentially advocates for increasing agricultural yield with fewer inputs and simply producing more food. In recent years, the food sovereignty movement has gained traction to address the gaps associated with a strict “food security” approach. Food sovereignty prioritizes equitable access to resources, diversified commodity production, fair labour practices, democratic deliberation between consumers and producers, and the basic right to food for all. To date, most food sovereignty work focuses on the political framework and social activism surrounding “the peasant movement”, so most publications have been theoretical. Empirical food sovereignty studies are only beginning to emerge.

In this Special Issue, the scope of contributions may include (but are not limited to) disciplines such as agronomy, soil and water science, environmental and ecological sciences, geography, anthropology, applied economics, sociology, and political science. Interdisciplinary studies and trans-disciplinary research are also welcome. Research methods may include a variety of qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods research approaches, and authors should provide a detailed discussion of the research methodologies employed so as to appeal to an interdisciplinary audience. Perhaps most importantly, authors should convey to readers how their study results contribute to the food security and food sovereignty literature.


Bacon, C.M., Ernesto Mendez, V., Gómez, M.E.F., Stuart, D. and Flores, S.R.D., 2008. Are sustainable coffee certifications enough to secure farmer livelihoods? The millennium development goals and Nicaragua's Fair Trade cooperatives. Globalizations, 5(2), pp.259-274.

Binimelis, R., Rivera-Ferre, M.G., Tendero, G., Badal, M., Heras, M., Gamboa, G. and Ortega, M., 2014. Adapting established instruments to build useful food sovereignty indicators. Development Studies Research. An Open Access Journal, 1(1), pp.324-339.

Shaw, D.J. 2007. “World Food Summit, 1996.” World Food Security, 347–60.

Wittman, H., A.A. Desmarais & N. Wiebe (eds). 2010. Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community. Winnipeg: Halifax Publishing.

Wittman, H., Beckie, M. and Hergesheimer, C., 2012. Linking local food systems and the social economy? Future roles for farmers' markets in Alberta and British Columbia. Rural Sociology77(1), pp. 36-61.

Prof. Dr. Catherine Keske
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • food sovereignty
  • sustainable food systems

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessCommunication “Everybody I Know Is Always Hungry…But Nobody Asks Why”: University Students, Food Insecurity and Mental Health
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1571; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061571
Received: 4 February 2019 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 15 March 2019
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Food insecurity is a substantial problem in Canadian university students. Multiple cross-sectional studies suggest that nearly a third of university students across Canada report food insecurity. Yet, little is understood about the experiences of food-insecure students and the impact of their experiences on [...] Read more.
Food insecurity is a substantial problem in Canadian university students. Multiple cross-sectional studies suggest that nearly a third of university students across Canada report food insecurity. Yet, little is understood about the experiences of food-insecure students and the impact of their experiences on their mental health. To address this, a multi-method study was conducted using quantitative and qualitative approaches to describe the prevalence, association and experience of food insecurity and mental health in undergraduate students. The current paper reports on the qualitative component, which described the lived experiences of food-insecure students, captured through face-to-face focus group interviews with participants (n = 6). The themes included (1) contributing factors to food insecurity; (2) consequences of food insecurity; and (3) students’ responses/attempts to cope with food insecurity. The findings illuminated student voices, added depth to quantitative results, and made the experience of food insecurity more visible at the undergraduate level. Additional research is needed to understand students’ diverse experiences across the university community and to inform programs to support students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Sovereignty, Food Security, and Sustainable Food Production)

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