Working Paper 11: Food Movements in Germany. Analysis of actors in the socio-ecological transformation of the food system

  • Lea Loretta Zentgraf (Author)
  • Renata Motta (Author)


Around the world, social movements are protesting against the corporate food regime (Friedmann & McMichael, 1989), denouncing the injustices associated with its structural dynamics of neoliberal capitalism, patriarchal domination, racism, coloniality, epistemic violence, and anthropocentric exploitation (Motta, 2021b; Holt Giménez & Shattuck, 2011; Holt-Gimenez & Patel, 2012). Many food movements are calling for a socio-ecological transformation and creating alternative forms to produce, share, prepare, consume and dispose of food, based on relations of care, solidarity and respect. In their heterogeneity, they provide a good analytical lens to explore the multiple and intersectional dimensions of food inequalities denounced and the directions of change desired by organized movements from civil society (Motta, 2021a). But which are the food movements that mobilize for a socio-ecological transformation of food politics in Germany? What are the main dimensions and intersections of inequalities addressed by them?

Based on an explorative mapping, this research identifies relevant food movements in Germany, their discourses and agendas. It takes as units of analysis food movements organizations with considerable collective actions and participation in social mobilization on a national scale during the last 5 years (2018-2023). Using an analytical framework elaborated in dialogue with theoretical and conceptual works on food movements, food inequalities, and dynamics of transformation in the food regime, the empirical data is presented along the categories: types of movements and activist discourses, time of emergence, juridical form, dimensions of food inequalities addressed, categories of intersectional inequalities considered, spatial locus of action (urban/rural), phases of the food system, sphere of social change most frequently targeted by the food movements. Based on the data, the dynamics of transformations are discussed.

Applying a qualitative and quantitative methodology which combined content analysis and coding, the research results in a mapping of the actors (Mayring & Fenzl, 2019; Saldaña, 2021). This working paper aims to give a first overview of food activism in Germany by assessing the actors in this field of social mobilisation and analysing their emancipatory potentials and limits.


Food movements, food inequalities, food justice, agrarian movements, Germany, socio-ecological transformation