The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 215

‘A parar la olla’: learning from ollas comunes in times of crisis to enhance resilient and just food systems

Street food in containers

3 February 2023

By Francisco García González

This paper aims to explore the relationship between resilience and justice, focusing on how grassroots movements can contribute to more resilient food systems, while simultaneously building pathways towards socioenvironmental justice. To address this question, the paper considers a case study situated in the resurgence of ollas comunes in Santiago during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to learn the relevance of local communities to react, recover and prepare before food insecurity shocks.

Using an environmental justice analytical framework, the paper examines the significance of food justice and sovereignty agendas as pathways to developing community resilience, while mobilising changes in the political sphere to reach food justice. At the same time, ollas comunes represent a caring, collective and creative citizen movement that effectively responds to the food emergency of the most vulnerable. Yet, they are often excluded from political decision-making, in which misrecognition and maldistribution impact the capacity of those more exposed to risks in building resilience against future threats in times of multiple crises.

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