Food not only takes care of our nutritional needs, but also reflects broader social contexts in which we live. This has become especially noticeable during the pandemic as many have come to learn how food is accessed—often unequally across communities. As a sociologist whose scholarship has in large part focused on food and foodways, I know that food has played a contentious role in our global history, which highlights cultural connectedness while also underscoring disparities among groups.
In this issue, sociologists studying food and society write about a number of issues that ail our food system, from the complicated costs of eating healthily for low-income families to foodies confronting their own privilege during the pandemic; from how food consumption represents a central pillar of population-level health issues to privatization of supermarkets and corporate food distribution; from the harmful effects of sugar addiction among communities of color to the critical role of intermediaries who are increasingly responsible for getting food to our tables.
Articles also focus on food insecurity, strains on the food system, and ways food procurement and family feeding have changed within households during the pandemic; how people’s resilience is interconnected and defined by class across the globe; urban farming and gentrification; ways hops are traded and their impact on labor and agricultural landscapes; and the connection between food justice and the Black community.
This collection of articles illuminates a range of social justice issues that stem from the ways in which our food system works. The authors have approached their essays with different lenses and methodologies and suggest ways in which public policy can be deployed to create a more equitable food system.