First Advisor

Richard Dozal-Lockwood

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Public Health Studies: Community Health Promotion and University Honors


Health Studies




Food sovereignty, Food security, Cities and towns, Public health




Marginalized urban communities face disproportionate rates of food insecurity related health outcomes and are more likely to lose important connections to traditional and cultural foods. Food sovereignty approaches, including policy changes, decolonized methods and community created perspectives to research and interventions have the potential to impact access to traditional and cultural foods, improving food security and supporting a healthier diet. The evidence in support of a food sovereignty approach to public health research and practice is limited and much of what is known is primarily based on studies at the global level or on rural communities. This systematic literature review determines what evidence exists within the literature about how food sovereignty approaches impact traditional and cultural food access in urban settings. The results are presented using the social-ecological model as a theoretical framework to identify prominent themes in the literature. Themes were determined to exist at each level of the social-ecological model suggesting that food sovereignty approaches may be able to address multiple levels of influence at the same time which is significant for future public health research. Lessons from Indigenous food sovereignty approaches may be useful in understanding how to apply a food sovereignty lens to research and practice intended for non-Indigenous communities. Incorporating cultural knowledge, community based-participatory practices and decolonizing methods were considered to be significant to the findings. Limitations included restrictions to the number of databases searched and determining eligibility due to the singular author and time constraints of the research project.


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