Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Environmental Studies Program


Gail Carlson

Second Advisor

Mary Beth Mills

Third Advisor

Philip Nyhus


As the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in the United States’ industrialized food system, the need for a more resilient alternative is stronger than ever. In Maine, food sovereignty - the right of people to determine their own food system - has been enacted at the local level through the adoption of the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance (LFCSGO). Using unstructured interviews with leaders of Maine’s food sovereignty movement conducted prior to the pandemic, this study aims to link food sovereignty in Maine to the concept of food system resilience. Participants defined food sovereignty specifically in relation to the LFCSGO and they emphasized its implications for food safety, community development, and local democracy. The vision promoted by Maine’s food sovereignty movement connects directly to discussions of food system resilience in existing scholarship, as well as to responses to food system failures during the pandemic. Ultimately, food sovereignty presents a potential path to increased food system resilience in Maine, in the face of both the current crisis and the ongoing threat of global climate change.


Food Sovereignty, COVID-19, Maine, Food System Resilience