Advancing the Boundaries of Urban Environmental Education through the Food Justice Movement


  • Katie Lynn Crosley University of Miami


As cities and urban areas increasingly become the locus for contemporary society, there is a growing necessity for environmental education to adapt to meet the challenges and needs of an urbanized world. A key part of this adaptation means acknowledging the nuanced legacy of environmental and social injustices involved in the growth and development of urban spaces. While there have been advances toward these ends, I argue mainstream environmental education is lacking critical engagement with urban areas. The growing food justice movement has salient theoretical and practical spheres that have the potential to contribute to these urban margins in environmental education. This article explores these spheres and applies them to environmental education in an effort to push the boundaries of the field towards concepts and pedagogies that occupy complex socio-ecological relationships and issues of justice in ways mainstream environmental education has struggled to access, particularly in the urban context. First, I discuss philosophical and structural reasons for why mainstream environmental education theory and practice have overlooked urban contexts and experiences. I then explore the development of the food justice movement, bringing to bear key characteristics that can contribute to environmental education. Finally, I discuss how food justice can help environmental education challenge and reposition itself to better meet the needs of an urban society.