Food, a life enabler and a cultural cornerstone, is a natural product with multiple meanings and different valuations for societies and individuals. Throughout history and geographies, food has shaped morals and norms, triggered enjoyment and social life, substantiated art and culture, justify commons‐ based systems and affected traditions and identity. More importantly, food has been closely related to power and the interaction between society and nature. From the industrial revolution to present days, food has been increasingly valued for its commodity dimension: food as a mono‐dimensional commodity produced and distributed in a global market of mass consumption. In this research, the progressive commodification of food as a vital resource is presented as a social construction, informed by an academic theoretical background, which shapes specific food policy options and blocks or discard other policies grounded in different valuations of food. As such, the value of food cannot be fully expressed by application of a value‐in‐exchange approach, since this value derives less from the market price than from its multiple dimensions relevant to humans and therefore cannot be either quantified (E.g. essentialness for human survival) or sold (E.g. food as a right). In opposition to the dominant paradigm, an alternative valuation of “food as a commons” is discussed, which has been barely explored in academic and political circles. This is based on the innovative idea of the six dimensions of food that is introduced in the present work: food as an essential life enabler, a natural resource, a human right, a cultural determinant, a tradeable good and a public good, cannot be reduced to the mono‐dimensional valuation of food as a commodity. Those dimensions seem to align better with the multiple values‐in‐use food enjoys across the world. In light of this, the objective of this thesis is to trace the genealogy of the meaning making and policy implications of the two conflicting narratives of “food as a commodity” and “food as a commons”. In order to achieve this result, it focuses on the “Food Narratives of Agents in Transition” using two theoretical frames (Discourse Analysis and Transition Theory) and adopting three methodological approaches, including the combination of quantitative and qualitative tools. The work is divided into three sections, that correspond to the three approaches undertaken (systematic, heuristic and governance), and eight chapters (two per section plus the introduction and the conclusions). In the first part, the work presents a genealogy of meanings of commons and food by using a systematic approach to schools of thought plus a research on academic literature where food is discussed either as a commons or as commodity. Notwithstanding the different interpretations, the economists’ framing as private good and commodity prevailed. This framing was rather ontological (“food is a commodity”) thus preventing other phenomenological meanings (“food as…”) to unfold and become politically relevant. The second part adopts a heuristic approach and contains two case studies that investigate the relevance that the two narratives had in influencing individual and relational agency in food systems in transition. That includes a case study with food‐related professionals working in the food system at different levels and another one with members of the food buying groups in Belgium as innovative niches of transition that nurture shared transformational narratives through conviviality, networking and social learning. Part three introduces the central issue of governance and navigates the policy arena with the use of a case study on how the absolute dominance of the tradeable dimension of food in the political stance of some important players (the US and EU) obscures other non‐economic dimensions such as the 8 consideration of food as a human need or human right. In response to the monolithic approach of governments, this part also contains a prospective chapter where different governing arrangements based on the narrative of food as a commons are proposed, with specific policy measures suggested. Finally, the conclusion chapter is structured as a synthesis of those approaches, and formulates a normative theory of food as a commons, with particular attention to different policy and legal options that should inform and justify institutional arrangements radically different from the business‐as‐usual proposals to reform the industrial food system. As discussed through the thesis, the consideration of food as a commons rests upon its essentialness as human life enabler, the multiple‐dimensions of food that are relevant to individuals and societies, and the multiplicity of governing arrangements that have been set up across the world, now and before, to produce and consume food outside market mechanisms. As a social construct based on the “instituting power of commoning”, food can be valued and governed as a commons. Once the narrative is shifted, the governing mechanisms and legal frameworks will gradually be molded to implement that vision. A regime based on food as a commons would construct an essentially democratic food system (food democracy) based on the proper valuation of the multiple dimensions of food, sustainable agricultural practices (agro‐ecology) and emancipatory politics (food sovereignty). Thatregime would also support the consideration of open‐source knowledge (E.g. cuisine recipes, traditional agricultural knowledge or public research), food‐producing resources (E.g. seeds, fish stocks, land, forests or water) and services (E.g. transboundary food safety regulations, public nutrition) as commons.