Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (2020) 44(9): 1,118–1,123

doi: 10.1080/21683565.2020.1775752


Copyright © 2020, Taylor and Francis. Used by permission


The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to challenges associated with our dominant industrial food system in the U.S. The general public now has more appreciation for farm workers and meatpacking employees, as well as those in grocery stores and in food transportation who are suddenly recognized as essential frontline workers. It apparently takes a crisis for us to focus clearly on the fragility of this system and the lives of people on whom we depend. In this commentary we discuss the definition of food sovereignty, how it manifests in urban areas, and how the COVID-19 pandemic can trigger viable responses to increase urban food sovereignty. While recognizing and appreciating the value of trade and comparative advantages of some regions with long seasons to produce food for others, there is strong reason to explore the potentials of local and urban production and governance to avoid serious impacts of unexpected interruptions in the world order.