In this category fall frameworks that place more emphasis on governance than the change process per se, but they have significant implications for the kinds of strategies proposed to drive change.  Governance is about the  relationships, processes, rules, practices and structures through which decisions  are made and implemented. Gaventa (2005) identifies how governance can be influenced by forms (visible, hidden, invisible), levels (local to global) and spaces (closed, invited, claimed) of power (see also Political Economy).  These concepts can be combined with the policy change frames discussed in the earlier subsections to bring more explanation to observed phenomena or proposed solutions.

Complex Adaptive Systems Theory (adapted from Stroink and Nelson, 2013)

The theory (cf. Holling 2001, Gunderson and Holling 2002, Homer-Dixon 2006, Walker and Salt 2006, McCarthy et al. 2011)  arises from Holling’s (1973) early work on forest ecosystems, and since then has been applied to human and natural systems including the financial system, the human brain, ant colonies, human communities and the climate (Miller and Oage 2007, Mitchell 2009, Goldstein et al. 2010) and policy systems (Walters and Holling, 1984). In this theory, change  is dynamic and not always linear and predictable (Polis and Strong 1996). It involves complex interactions across scale and time, often with nested dimensions, and change occurs as a result of a co-evolving dynamic context where there are many unknowns or poorly understood phenomena. Complex systems produces outcomes that could not be predicted from the individual elements, components and aspects.  Many aspects of food system management and change are consistent with a complex systems concept and therefore the change process may be ruled by this theory.

Public Trust Doctrine

This doctrine, with its roots in Roman civil law and British common law, holds that the sea, the shores of the sea, the air and running water are public goods, and that the government manages them for the public good.  In North America, it is most commonly applied to the fishery, whereby fish are public goods and government experts hold them in custodianship for the public (Cooke and Murchie, 2013).  Curiously, it is not currently applied to food-producing lands, despite the fact that land was commons  for millennia before the Enclosures in Britain (see Rogers, 2020).

The marine fishery continues to be governed somewhat by this doctrine, though not always well (see Sustainable Fisheries Management).  The inland fishery has a limited number of rights-based situations, called Crown leases and Crown reserves, and community quotas in the Arctic (Cooke and Murchie, 2013).  There is a limited amount of common farmland in Canada, primarily associated with pastures (see Goal 3, Reducing corporate concentration).

Food citizenship

Community of food practice (adapted from Campbell and MacRae, 2013)

Developed in the field of social theories of learning,  communities of practice are “Groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” (Wenger et al. 2002, pp. 4–5). Central  is the collective exchange and interaction between members  and the social learning that is  produced. Friedmann (2007) builds on this with the  community of food practice that  includes, using Toronto as an example, not only networks of individuals, but also of private businesses, governmental bodies, and nongovernmental organisations. Waddell (2005) contends that social learning and change are contingent upon such bridging between organisations. The linking of diverse actors provides fertile ground for the emergence of new solutions to broad-based complex problems.

Regulatory pluralism

A governance regime that embraces a wide range of coordinated and integrated instruments (including some traditional command and control regulations), well matched to the desired effect and implemented by an equally wide range of state and non-state actors (see, for example, Gunningham, 2005).  Regulatory pluralism is an extensive of multistakeholder processes and very connected to collaborative governance and partner state (Kostakis and Bauwens, 2014).  It stands in stark contrast to regulatory capture, the process whereby a limited number of powerful corporations have undue influence on regulatory processes.  Regulatory capture is associated with neo-liberalism, deregulation, privatization, austerity, trade and globalization.

The power to convene (adapted from Clark et al., 2021)

The power to convene is "grounded in the power to reframe narratives through deliberation while enabling the construction of a new governance space. " (Clark et al., 2021). Like-minded people, interested in change, create spaces for themselves, that are not necessarily oppositional, but are definitely visible. They allow  different actors to participate and attempt to change the rules of discussion and decision - making. They are also spaces of learning and networking.

Collaborative governance (co-governance) (adapted from Martorell and Andree, 2019)

Emerson et al. (2011) define collaborative governance as “the processes and structures of public policy decision making and management that engage people constructively across the boundaries of public agencies, levels of government, and/or the public, private and civic spheres in order to carry out a public purpose that could not otherwise be accomplished” (p. 2).  Participants co-produce outcomes and  are equal stewards of the process (Paquet and Wilson, 2011).

Martorell and Andree (2019) relate the concept of polycentrism, first developed by Ostrom, to co-governance. Polycentric governance refers to organizational structures in which a number of independent actors coordinate their relationships with one another under an agreed upon set of rules (Araral and Hartley, 2013). Ostrom’s work addressed trust and cooperation within collaborative decision-making processes and rebutted earlier theories of rational, but helpless, individuals trapped in social dilemmas relating to common-pool resources (Ostrom 2010).

Polycentrism does not simply mean de-centralization. It recognizes self-governing processes (Nagendra and Ostrom 2012) and specifies the conditions under which polycentric systems emerge, so that public policy could “develop institutions that bring out the best in humans”  and help “innovativeness, learning, adapting, trustworthiness, levels of cooperation of participants”, and the ability to achieve “more effective, equitable and sustainable outcomes at multiple scales.” (Ostrom 2010. 25)

Open methods of coordination (OMC) is a related model mainly used in areas where central government (e.g. the European Commission) has limited formal authority. Doberstein (2012, 2014) argues that OMC is relevant to the case of homelessness in Canada specifically because of the lack of formal federal authority in that area. That the federal government has a clear role in relation to food (e.g. food safety, trade) means that OMC may only be partially relevant . The broader concept for a flexible, learning- based approach (as represented in OMC) may be polycentrism. Doberstein suggests tthat OMC combined with use of traditional federal spending power is likely a more optimal approach for many Canadian governance issues.

Such approaches are not without significant challenges. Networked governance does not inherently remove power relations among the actors in the network or mean that differing worldviews can readily be reconciled.  Co-management systems in Canada’s northern territories have struggled to fit together knowledges from differing worldviews, yet powerful state structures have often inaccurately claimed them as a success of collaborative governance (Nadasdy 2005).

Multistakeholderism (adapted from Bancerz, 2017)

Multistakeholderism  first gained popularity internationally in the 1990s (Pattberg & Widerberg, 2016). Multistakeholder partnerships (MSPs) or initiatives (MSIs) are voluntary partnerships that engage public and private actors  from government, industry, civil society, academia, and other non-state organizations or institutions (Powers & Jablonski, 2015). MSPs tend to be non-hierarchical processes that aim for shared responsibility and cooperation among those involved.

Typically formed when an urgent and complex issue arises  MSPs come in many “shapes” and “flavours”of format, organization, and agenda (Epstein & Nonnecke, 2016). Everyone involved in an MSP is at the table to cooperate to solve a common complex problem that cannot be solved individually. The purpose is to take different perspectives, priorities and sensitivities into consideration that results in “mutual value creation”, expressed through implementation of programmes, policies, and monitoring strategies (Bäckstrand, 2006; Rühli, Sachs, Schmitt & Schneider, 2015).

Instrument choice (Eliadis et al., 2005)

This is a tools approach because in the current context, tools are typically the focus of advocacy work.  Governments cannot undertake grand new deals on the food system for a variety of reasons.  Advocacy groups are framing their advocacy based on their favourite instruments.  This is more of a public management approach that recognizes that the political layer often does not deal with the details.  In advocacy terms, instruments are not without political values so one uses them to drive philosophical change. Fed-prov-territorial debates are usually about instruments and their design.  For many issues, the political framework has already been set, so instrument design becomes the only negotiating space.  Instrument choice fits within the efficiency/substitution stages of Hill and MacRae’s (1995) ESR transition framework.

Legitimacy Theory (Bradley and MacRae, 2010)

Legitimacy is  ‘‘a generalized perception or assumption that the actions of an entity are desirable, proper, or appropriate within some socially constructed system of norms, values, beliefs and definitions’’ (Cashore et al. 2004; Suchman 1995). It is one of  several factors that determine whether ruletakers implement or abide by a given rule. Whether stakeholders will participate in a process or adopt voluntary
commitments depends on perceptions that the regulatory body or network
developing the rules is authoritative, to use right process, to be adding value—in
other words, to be legitimate. Rules can be understood broadly, to include both binding, state-imposed obligations and voluntary, private, or public normative standards.

Loci of decision making

Hill (1994) uses the term choice of organizational arrangement (mode) for regulation and examines the interest politics-mode paradigm – decision style framework to explore the tensions that can be inherent in a mode choice.  Modes are carefully crafted mixes of structure, resources (staffing and budgets) and organizational processes.  In her view, the choice of mode for regulation is “a fluid, evolutionary, policy community-wide activity in crafting machinery for delivering regulatory policies and programmes out of various possible structures, budgets and staffing levels and administrative processes.” (p.362). In other words, mode choices are often made by a single decision maker.