Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Christopher Jones


Alternative food systems (AFS) projects are designed to address issues of environmental justice, food security and insecurity, community health disparities between the affluent and the poor, and access to healthful foods in distressed urban areas. Past research has questioned the efficacy and long-term viability of such interventions, particularly in distressed primarily Black urban areas. The purpose of this intrinsic case study (ICS) was to understand the ways in which local governmental entities collaborated with each other and with nongovernmental partners to help develop an AFS in South Florida through the creation of a market garden called the PATCH. Critical race theory was the framework for addressing the challenges associated with community health, empowerment, and socioeconomic issues pertaining to AFS. A critical case sampling strategy was employed in order to study the selected site. Transcribed data from interviews with 6 key informants, observational notes, and publicly available document searches were coded using a thematic posteriori strategy and analyzed diagrammatically. Results revealed 4 primary drivers for the effective creation of AFS including collaboration and partnerships, community empowerment, community involvement, and the leadership role of government. The concept of transcommunality played an integral role in how these primary drivers could be applied between local governmental and nongovernmental partners. Knowledge gleaned from these results can inform the development of effective community and culturally specific AFS that can help address the disparities that race and socioeconomic status play in providing access to healthful foods in South Florida, thereby creating the basis for positive social change in distressed urban areas.