First Advisor

Nathan McClintock

Date of Publication

Summer 7-30-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies




Food consumption -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Oregon -- Portland, Social justice -- Oregon -- Portland, Sustainable agriculture -- Political aspects -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 104 pages)


While Portland, Oregon's sustainable food movement wins accolades for explicitly situating itself in opposition to the industrialized global food system, it often fails to address systems of oppression that are reproduced within the alternative agri-food movement itself. This demonstrated aversion towards the messy, complex, contingent nature of the social world reflects larger processes of "de-politicization" of the overall sustainability agenda, which leads to the favoring of technological and/or spatial solutions that may undermine the social equity and justice dimensions of the "triple bottom line." This thesis focuses on an action research project involving a series of community dialogues that provided participants with a common language and understanding necessary to interrogate issues of race and class in Portland's sustainable food movement while developing visions for possible futures. Dialogue participants may find new ways to communicate, learn, identify common goals and best practices, and potentially network, collaborate and/or co-produce transformative anti-oppression strategies that integrate into the sustainable food movement. By asking those vested in the sustainable food movement to interrogate dimensions of anti-oppression consciousness, the movement becomes fortified with voices better equipped to envision sustainability within a more political and contingent reality that recognizes conflicts of power, and less resembling an idyllic, utopian, and ultimately impossible sustainability. This thesis delivers some preliminary outcomes following the dialogue series by describing and reflecting on the series' implementation and processes, and reflecting on its impact on participants' anti-oppression consciousness in the context of food and sustainability, while discussing possibilities for future scholarship.


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