New Power Relations Served Here: The Growth of Food Banking in Chicago

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While some non-profits have suffered under the political and economic pressures of neoliberal urban governance reform, others have emerged as important institutional players in local governance regimes. This article highlights how non-profits food banks in Chicago have commercialized in order to respond to increased demand, enhance their institutional independence from government, and reassert their local dominance in emergency food service delivery. From a food bank member agency perspective, the consolidation of food bank institutional power has produced new bureaucratic limitations, user fees, and increased competition. These shifts reveal the rise of metropolitan food banks as important players in neoliberal urban governance regimes, as they control the conceptualization of hunger, management of poverty, and organization of food distribution systems.