Food sovereignty has emerged as a leading sense-making framework for the nascent conceptualization of an agroecological urbanism – a radically new paradigm for urbanization, grounded in political agroecology. At present, discourses like food democracy are often isolated from food sovereignty and agroecology in the urban context, potentially resulting in missed opportunities for creating holistic, inclusive, and scalable transformation in the urban food system. This study used data from existing municipal food policy in Seattle, U.S.A. and interviews with Seattle community gardeners to probe resident practices and policy recommendations in relation to the conceptual frameworks of food sovereignty and food democracy. The findings identify two key dimensions of food democracy as notably absent from the food sovereignty framework within this contextualized landscape, including mechanisms that enable vertical deliberation between food system stakeholders and opportunities for strengthened self and community efficacy – thus, exposing a potential gap in the ongoing development of an actionable agroecological urbanism. Working in tandem within the frame of agroecological urbanism, the food sovereignty and food democracy frameworks may support transition from unsustainable growth patterns and enable agroecological massification in an urban Global North context.
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