Foodshed: A metaphor that helps us, like a watershed, imagine the flow of food into a particular place, as well as the boundaries around that place. Foodshed is also a metaphor for the unity of place and people, of nature and society, and is "...a frame for action and thought" (Kloppenburg et al., 1996)

Food Justice: The right of communities everywhere to produce, process, distribute, access, and eat good food regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, religion, or community (IATP, 2012)

Food Chain: A network of labor and production processes whose end result is a finished commodity or food product (adapted from Hopkins & Wallerstein, 1986)

Food Sovereignty: The right of people everywhere to determine their food and agriculture futures on their own terms, insofar as those ways enhance the environment, social justice and equity, and peoples' cultural values (Desmarais, 2003)

Community Food Security: The condition in which all people at all times have access to fresh, healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food, outside emergency food situations (Gottlieb & Fisher, 1996)

Economic Justice: Dignity and respect for workers, regardless of their occupation or identity, including living wages, benefits, career pathways and the opportunity to organize ( Liu, 2012); ensures that all—especially low-income people and people of color—have the opportunity to benefit from and co-create equity-driven growth (Treuhaft et al., 2011)

Food access is the literal and economic ability to meet one’s dietary needs in a manner that is culturally and physically appropriate and allows just and sufficient choice of food groups. This is achieved when a family or individual has economic and transportation means, as well as time and personal safety, and a food provider that serves them, whether as retail, wholesale, community grown, or through a trade economy.

These maps help describe potential for the Rhode Island foodshed. The foodshed is defined by the geography of the flow of food into a particular place; it's also a metaphor for the unity of place and people, of nature and society, and a place for organizing. These maps show the physical and regulatory obstacles to and opportunities for development of the Rhode Island foodshed.

Rhode Island is a diverse state that has experienced severe economic hardship in recent years. Click to learn more about corporatization in food service, food processing, violations and enforcement in the food sector, and working in grocery stores, restaurants, and on farms.

Across Providence, there are individuals and groups working to make the food system more accessible, affordable and just. In our research, we studied several programs and initiatives across the city that are making the Providence foodshed more equitable. Explore this section of the website to see where we took action, what we learned and how we evaluated our work.

What do people in Providence love to eat? What joys and struggles do they face getting hold of the foods they love? The answers to these questions, and more, continue to change as people from all over the world have come to make Providence their new home, bringing seeds, recipes and memories from their home country. Through food, these immigrants find ways to support each other, connect to their new country, make a living, and remember the places they have come from.


The Providence Foodshed Justice Mapping project participants include nearly 300 Brown University students and one faculty researcher who have, over the course of three years, engaged in a course-based foodshed mapping research project in the Providence, Rhode Island region. We've asked: what does it mean to map a food system? Is there a landscape of food justice? How can Providence citizens foster a more ecologically, socially, and economically resilient food system, in the face of societal trends that encourage homogenization over diversity; industrialization over environmental health; and concentrated profits over social justice and equity? While we do not answer these questions definitively, we explore them in myriad ways. And while this site is not a comprehensive representation of all the tremendous work and effort of all 300+ researchers, it is a condensed, distilled version of many of our key findings and cases that embody our work and what we have learned together.

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