Enabling the Good Food Movement

Sara Soderstrom
Assistant Professor,
Organizational Studies & Program in the Environment,
University of Michigan

Johnson Rooms, Lurie Engineering Bldg, Univ of Michigan, North Campus.
Noon, December 12, 2018


In promoting social change, organizations benefit from diverse membership, yet diversity is difficult to achieve. Using data collected over a 15-month field study, we examined how a social movement organization (SMO), FoodLab, mobilized a diverse collective of entrepreneurs, aligned with the good food movement. FoodLab articulated a vision for an imagined future of a diverse good food economy in Detroit that aligned movement goals and entrepreneurs’ livelihoods. This vision supported diverse recruitment, and the organization facilitated dialogue among participants. These structured interactions with norms of questions, stories, and respectful interaction, helped build collective identity and foster diverse collective action. FoodLab’s substantive commitment to diversity enabled growth of the diverse collective through social networks.

Sara Soderstrom is an Assistant Professor in Organizational Studies & Program in the Environment at University of Michigan. She is core faculty at the Erb Institute. In her research, Sara aims to contribute an organizational perspective on how society develops solutions to critical global sustainability challenges. Sara studies how individuals within organizations mobilize others, develop coalitions, and access critical resources when they are trying to implement sustainability initiatives. Sara completed her PhD at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Erb Institute at UM. Prior to her graduate work at Kellogg, Sara worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and led a business transformation team at Auto Club Group. She holds MSE degrees in Chemical & Environmental Engineering and a BSE degree in Chemical Engineering from UM.

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