Operationalizing Food System Governance: The Case of Fort Portal Food Change Lab

Kat Pittore*, Pascal Debons

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Transforming the current food system into one which delivers healthy, sustainable diets will require some form of governance. Due to the complex nature of the food system, multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs), which bring together actors from multiple sectors into a shared space for joint decision making, have been proposed as one potential governance structure. Using the Food Change Lab, a multi-stakeholder platform led by a local civil society organization in Fort Portal, Uganda, as a case study, this paper uses an explicit conceptual framework for food system governance to understand how such an MSP can support improved food system outcomes. Local-level, civil-society-led MSPs have a limited ability to support a system-based problem framing, due to a tension between a holistic view of the system and identifying concrete entry points for action. They can support boundary spanning by creating horizontal linkages but are less effective in creating vertical linkages due to their locally embedded nature. Because such MSPs are not dependent on formal policy processes, they can be very adaptable and flexible in prioritizing issues and focus areas. The greatest influence of such MSPs in food governance is in supporting inclusiveness, especially of marginalized voices. While such MSPs are unlikely to be able to achieve food system transformation alone, they do play a key role in engaging with marginalized groups, supporting inclusion of local issues and promoting alternative food system visions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3527
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


    • civil society
    • food system governance
    • multi-stakeholder platforms
    • secondary cities
    • Uganda


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