In this article, we bring together academic literature tracing contemporary social movements centered on food, unpacking the discourses of local food, community food security, food justice, and food sovereignty. This body of literature transcends national borders and draws on a rich genealogy of studies on environmental justice, the intersections of race, class, and gender, and sustainable agro-food systems. Scholars have emphasized two key issues that persist within these movements: inequalities related to race and class that shape the production, distribution, and consumption of food, and the neoliberal constraints of market-based solutions to problems in the food system. This article claims that food movements in the United States would be strengthened through reframing their work within a paradigm of food sovereignty, an approach that would emphasize the production of local alternatives, but also enable a dismantling of the policies that ensure the dominance of the corporate food regime. The article concludes by offering a critical analysis of future research directions for scholars who are committed to understanding and strengthening more democratic and sustainable food systems.
Addressing Inequality and Neoliberalism
Teresa Marie Mares and Alison Hope Alkon
Studying abroad can be a life-altering experience, but not necessarily. I credit the two study-abroad experiences I had as an undergraduate as setting my course as an anthropologist. At this stage in my career, having directed, taught and evaluated five study-abroad programmes in three different countries, I felt ready to create my own based on the pros and cons I had observed. In December 2013, I completed a pilot run of a binational learning community focused on food, culture and social justice in Ecuador and Oregon and would like to share the experience in order to encourage other higher education teachers to invent similar programmes. It is not an easy model to pull off, especially in a large state institution, but it achieved the kind of coherence that I have found lacking in other study-abroad programmes and was a very satisfying teaching/learning experience. I will outline some issues concerning study-abroad programmes and then describe
the programme I was involved in implementing in 2013.
Post-industrial French Paysans Fight for a Solidaire Global Food Policy
If the post-war industrial model entails a mix of technological and chemical interventions that increase farm productivity, then post-industrial agriculture (emerging in the 1970s) constitutes agricultural surpluses, as well as an array of trade, aid and biotechnology practices that introduce novel foodstuffs (processed and genetically modified) on an unprecedented scale. While industrial agriculture reduces the farming population, the latter gives rise to new sets of actors who question the nature and validity of the industrial model. This essay explores the rise of one set of such actors. Paysans (peasants) from France's second largest union, the Confederation Paysanne, challenge the industrial model's instrumental rationality of agriculture. Reframing food questions in terms of food sovereignty, paysans propose a solidarity-based production rationality which gives hope to those who believe that another post-industrial food system is possible.
Book Review Essay
Louise Nelson Dyble
David Pimentel and Marcia Pimentel, Food, Energy and Society, 3rd ed. (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2008), xix + 380 pp.
James E. McWilliams, Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We can Truly Eat Responsibly (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009), 258 pp., Pb US$14.99.
C. Claire Hinrichs and Thomas A. Lyson, eds., Remaking the North American Food System: Strategies for Sustainability (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2008), 384 pp., Hb US$45.00, Pb US$29.95.
David Burch and Geoffrey Lawrence, eds., Supermarkets and Agri-food Supply Chains (Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2007), xiv + 330 pp.
Geographical Indications, Rural Development, and the Environment
Fabio Parasecoli and Aya Tasaki
The article highlights relevant issues within the global debate on geographical indications, as they relate to food products. Geographical indications, a form of intellectual property designated by considering principally the place of origin of products, have become a hot topic among producers, activists, economists, and politicians worldwide. Commercial and legal issues related to them have generated complex negotiations in international organizations and national institutions, while their cultural aspects have stimulated theoretical debates about the impact of global trade on local identities. Geographical indications could become a valid tool to implement community-based, sustainable, and quality-oriented agriculture, depending on the sociopolitical environment and whether they are relevant for the producers involved, affordable in terms of administrative and management costs, and applicable on different scales of production. The article also explores the environmental impact of geographical indications and their potential in ensuring the livelihood of rural communities in emerging economies and promoting sustainable agricultural models.
constituents, and its most basic responsibility was ensuring subsistence. In the nineteenth century, the study of food in the colonies fell under the scope of “tropical hygiene,” a medical discipline concerned primarily with the maintenance of white bodies
An Appraisal of International Perspectives and Implications for the South African Industrial Biofuels Strategy
The global rush toward a biofueled future (and subsequent apprehension concerning unintended consequences) has met with powerful and wide-ranging critique. Bolstered by globally increasing food prices peaking in 2008, food insecurity has become a central concern when considering pursuing biofuels. Arguments in the wider literature propose a number of perspectives with which to evaluate the biofuels-food security nexus. In South Africa, however, the debate is largely configured around maize-for-ethanol and polarized between two antagonistic camps. A host of agricultural lobbies and industrial interests argue in support of biofuels while some politicians, civil society, and NGOs argue against it. Both groups draw their arguments from various domains of the food security discourse in support of their cause. This article considers the merits of these opposing arguments in relation to wider perspectives in the literature, in many cases highlighting non-holistic assumptions made by the opposing claimants. This article seeks to rekindle a waning dialogue and provide a more robust outline of the major concerns that need to be addressed when considering biofuels production from a food security perspective. Only then can South Africa expect to weigh up accurately the value of pursuing biofuels production.
Recent Research in Sustainable Consumption Policy and Practice
From Slow Food and farmers' markets to ecolabels and fair trade an unprecedented number of consumer-based alternative food movements have risen in response to concerns about the environmental and social effects of industrialized agriculture. Some research suggests that these movements are successful in their efforts to reconnect communities, demystify global food chains, and produce sustainable foods, which are healthier for the planet and human bodies. Yet other scholars argue that the contemporary focus on consumer responsibility in policy and practice indicates much more than a process of reflexive modernization. The devolution of responsibility to consumers and the dominance of market-based solutions, these scholars argue, reflect the growing influence of neoliberal environmental governance. From this perspective these movements are naive in their assumption that consumers have the power necessary to overcome the structural barriers that inhibit significant change. These critics argue that the focus on consumer responsibility excludes those without access to consumer choice, reproduces social hierarchies, and fails to deliver the political and redistributive solutions necessary to achieve sustainability. Drawing on research across the social sciences this article surveys the existing evidence about the effectiveness of consumer-based movements in their attempts to create sustainable food systems.
Collective Identity in Health
Mora Castro and Giorgina Fabron
This article presents an analysis of different aspects of the migration process of a large group of people in Argentina, who originally come from the rural uplands (Jujuy Province) but who currently dwell in a lowlands peri-urban area (Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area). In particular, it presents some of the results of a long-term research project on food practices deployed in both geographical zones, which are united by a considerable migrant flow that intensified during the last three decades. From an anthropological perspective, it analyses the features of the nutritional transition of this social group regard to changes in its food knowledge and cultural heritage. It suggests that this qualitative factor can contribute to a better understanding of the health issues that have been faced by this group.
Rabbi Howard Cooper
cauliflower soup that you could imagine. His soup spoke more eloquently of the spirit than all our high-flown rabbinic waffling. This was food for – and from – the soul. It tasted, so to speak, of heaven. For Lionel, the preparing and cooking and eating and