Published August 23, 2021 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Qualitative dataset - Social justice-oriented narratives in European urban food strategies: Bringing forward redistribution, recognition and representation (Smaal et al., 2021)

  • 1. ILVO & Ghent University


This qualitative dataset contains the English translations of the plain texts of the urban food strategy documents or webpages of 16 European medium-sized cities: Basel [CH]; Bristol [UK]; Bruges [BE]; Cordoba [ES]; Donostia - San Sebastián [ES]; Ede [NL]; Geneva [CH]; Ghent [BE]; Grenoble [FR]; Groningen [NL]; Montpellier [FR]; Nantes [FR]; Rennes [FR]; Tours [FR]; Uppsala [SE]; and Vitoria-Gasteiz [ES]. The search for and translation of the urban food strategy documents and webpages have been performed in early 2019. The files have been analysed in NVivo (qualitative data analysis software). The upload also includes figures and a table with the authors' assessments connected to the resources and services codes and radar diagram visualisations presented in the following paper: 

Smaal, S. A. L., Dessein, J., Wind, B. J., & Rogge, E. (2021). Social justice-oriented narratives in European urban food strategies: Bringing forward redistribution, recognition and representation. Agriculture and Human Values, 38(3), 709–727. 

Abstract: More and more cities develop urban food strategies (UFSs) to guide their efforts and practices towards more sustainable food systems. An emerging theme shaping these food policy endeavours, especially prominent in North and South America, concerns the enhancement of social justice within food systems. To operationalise this theme in a European urban food governance context we adopt Nancy Fraser’s three-dimensional theory of justice: economic redistribution, cultural recognition and political representation. In this paper, we discuss the findings of an exploratory document analysis of the social justice-oriented ambitions, motivations, current practices and policy trajectories articulated in sixteen European UFSs. We reflect on the food-related resource allocations, value patterns and decision rules these cities propose to alter and the target groups they propose to support, empower or include. Overall, we find that UFSs make little explicit reference to social justice and justice-oriented food concepts, such as food security, food justice, food democracy and food sovereignty. Nevertheless, the identified resources, services and target groups indicate that the three dimensions of Fraser are at the heart of many of the measures described. We argue that implicit, fragmentary and unspecified adoption of social justice in European UFSs is problematic, as it may hold back public consciousness, debate and collective action regarding food system inequalities and may be easily disregarded in policy budgeting, implementation and evaluation trajectories. As a path forward, we present our plans for the RE-ADJUSTool that would enable UFS stakeholders to reflect on how their UFS can incorporate social justice and who to involve in this pursuit.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 765389. 

Project webpage:



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Is source of
Journal article: 10.1007/s10460-020-10179-6 (DOI)


RECOMS – Building Resourceful and Resilient Communities through Adaptive and Transformative Environmental Practice 765389
European Commission