In August 2005, avian influenza entered European public arenas as the next food and agricultural risk. As the virus was detected close to Europe, questions arose whether measures were required to protect human health and secure European food supply. This article analyzes the public debates on the characteristics of the risk and on the interventions needed. The mass media in two EU member states, the UK and the Netherlands, were studied for this purpose. With the help of qualitative analysis the debates were analyzed as they unfolded in selected national newspapers. Arguing that risks are socially mediated realities, the article discusses how struggles on risk definitions relate to different policy decisions. Moreover, it analyzes how these political dynamics are informed by the involvement of state, market, and civil society actors in European governance, and discerns their wider implications for the functioning of the EU food governance framework.
Michiel P.M.M. de Krom and Peter Oosterveer
A New Rights Framework for Food and Nature?
Food sovereignty, as a critical alternative to the concept of food security, is broadly defined as the right of local peoples to control their own food systems, including markets, ecological resources, food cultures, and production modes. This article reviews the origins of the concept of food sovereignty and its theoretical and methodological development as an alternative approach to food security, building on a growing interdisciplinary literature on food sovereignty in the social and agroecological sciences. Specific elements of food sovereignty examined include food regimes, rights-based and citizenship approaches to food and food sovereignty, and the substantive concerns of advocates for this alternative paradigm, including a new trade regime, agrarian reform, a shift to agroecological production practices, attention to gender relations and equity, and the protection of intellectual and indigenous property rights. The article concludes with an evaluation of community-based perspectives and suggestions for future research on food sovereignty.
Food System Analysis Based on Interaction Between Research, Policy, and Society
Heidrun Moschitz, Jan Landert, Christian Schader, and Rebekka Frick
Urban Agriculture in the Urban Food System Urban agriculture practice involves a new way of thinking about food, including a critique of the predominant food system. It plays a major role in making food visible and can thus support a general
Adopting a Social Practice Perspective in Social-Ecological Research
Lukas Sattlegger, Immanuel Stieß, Luca Raschewski, and Katharina Reindl
Studying Plastic Packaging in Food Supply as an Everyday Life Sustainability Problem The global plastic waste problem, arising from the increasing use of single-use plastic items, is prominently visible in accumulations of marine litter in oceans
Lessons from Madrid
Marian Simon-Rojo, Inés Morales Bernardos, and Jon Sanz Landaluze
Expectations about food as a key vector of social transformation have soared in recent years, and increasingly attention is being paid to food movements and urban agriculture 1 and their potential to reassert citizen (collective) control and to
Eleni Tourlouki, Antonia-Leda Matalas, and Demosthenes Panagiotakos
The present work documents the core diet of a population in a Mediterranean island that has been minimally eroded by industrialization and tourism, and links present food-consumption patterns to the foods' historical roots and to the exploitation of natural resources available to the community. Demographic, behavioral, cultivation, and food-intake information were collected among inhabitants of the isolated northern villages of Karpathos. The core diet of the elderly village inhabitants was found to be based on wheat, barley, legumes, and olive oil. Inhabitants in the northern villages of Karpathos rely on local resources for most of their food. Absence of mechanized farming, the social role of women, and customs of inheritance are factors that have contributed to the preservation of traditional food-related practices.
Cristina Grasseni, Heather Paxson, and Anna Tsing take us on three explorations of food systems in various parts of the world. Each examines practices responding to the unevenly distributed and increasingly precarious global food distribution system
Addressing Inequality and Neoliberalism
Teresa Marie Mares and Alison Hope Alkon
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.
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.
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.