Food sovereignty: understanding Somali gastronomy

Adekunle B., Filson G., Warsame W.

Food, Culture and Society, vol.25, no.3, pp.581-603, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/15528014.2021.1914956
  • Journal Name: Food, Culture and Society
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, CAB Abstracts, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Sociological abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.581-603
  • Keywords: Consumption, Greater Toronto Area, Somali-Canadians, food sovereignty, economic integration, halal foods
  • TED University Affiliated: No


© 2021 Association for the Study of Food and Society.Culture, acquired taste and past experiences, shape immigrants’ food preferences and acculturation inclination. As people migrate from Africa, South Asia and China to Canada, Toronto’s food landscape has been transformed. This migration pattern has led to a situation where unfortunately some immigrants have become food insecure, because their preferred foods have not been available as they have become increasingly dependent on inexpensive, lower nutritional foods that are available through food banks and mainstream grocery stores. This situation is particularly common for relatively deprived, refugee path immigrants (RPI). There is therefore a need for policies that will strengthen the value chain of culturally appropriate, quality foods which enhance their food sovereignty. This paper presents the outcome of our fieldwork (2015–2016) examining the preferences and economic characteristics of Somalis in the GTA. Data collection involved direct observation, participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and structured questionnaires. Our results indicate that Somalis integrate best when they are involved, as active stakeholders, in the food value chain and are given the opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial abilities connected to their culturally preferred value chains.