Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Social Innovation (M.A.)

Degree Program

School of Community Leadership & Development

First Advisor

Daniela Marini

Academic Year



This study investigates the nutrition education programs implemented by organizations that operate Fresh Markets in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with the goal of connecting empowered nutrition education to a food justice context. A review of scholarly literature reveals that there has been limited published work within the last three decades that integrates empowered nutrition to a food justice context. Analysis of interviews conducted with the four organizations indicates that nutrition education is used as a tool of empowerment in a food justice framework. However, this study reveals that nutrition education cannot be used alone as a tool of empowerment, rather it is a small part of a larger structure, fulfilling a specific role to empower communities. Further research is needed on the role of nutrition education in communities being empowered through transformative food justice work.