Growing In A Minefield


On a global level, debates on food security and sustainable development of food systems have shifted from merely economic debates, focusing on a trading rationale, to social debates discussing the role and responsibilities of citizens and states, and the underlying social and political relationships of food systems. Concepts like sustainability, resilience, and agency are centralized in international policy frameworks and scientific debates on food security and sustainable development. On the local level, the development of the Lebanese political-economic system over the last decades and the current crisis context have led to an increase in food insecurity in Lebanon, and food security is approached through a trading rationale. This research paper pays attention to food systems as socio-political systems through an examination of local agricultural initiatives that respond to food insecurity in Tripoli, Lebanon in the context of the Lebanese crisis. The responses manifested in a particular set of social relationships structured by values of productivity, cooperation, and independence. Their motion of practice can be understood as a practice of ‘survival navigation’ within a metaphorical ‘minefield’ wherein citizens experience oppression and limited abilities to take control over their lives. This particular social reality structures the local processes of meaning-making. Understanding the local meanings of ‘sustainability’, ‘resilience’ and ‘agency’ contributes to understanding how these concepts work in relation to food security at the interface of Sustainable Development and crisis. The unpacking and analysis of the concepts in this paper shows that they are experienced as part of a socio-political reality, revealing an ideological gap and a gap on the level of sustainable development practice. The Commons paradigm offers a framework of thinking to bridge this gap by acknowledging that the social world is grounded in the material world and that agency manifests in socio-political relationships around access to resources.


Sustainable Development- sustainability - resilience - agency - Lebanon - crisis - Commons

How to Cite

Hamans, V., (2022) “Growing In A Minefield”, Science for Sustainability (S4S) Journal 6(1). doi:







Viviane Hamans (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)





Creative Commons Attribution 4.0


Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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