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Can Consumer Demand Deliver Sustainable Food?

Recent Research in Sustainable Consumption Policy and Practice

Cindy Isenhour

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.

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The Incredible Edible Movement

People Power, Adaptation, and Challenges in Rennes (France) and Montreal (Canada)

Giulia Giacchè and Lya Porto

al. 2015 ) or collective ( McClintock 2014 ) gardens, as well as for guerrilla gardening initiatives ( Hodgson et al. 2011 ; McClintock 2014 ). Common characteristics of community or collective gardens are the medium or small scale of food or

Open access

Christian Bromberger

In the Iranian world, Gilân displays a strong specificity, including the registers of food and cooking. 1 In this rice-producing region, the consumption of rice is much higher than elsewhere in Iran ( Figure 1 ). Among the eating habits of their

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From Urban Agriculture to Urban Food

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

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Food Sovereignty

A New Rights Framework for Food and Nature?

Hannah Wittman

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.

Open access

Marie-Luce Gélard

perçu comme une valeur éminemment positive. La dessiccation préalable de certains aliments suivie de leur réhydratation avant leur consommation est une intervention essentielle à l'esthétique gustative. Si le goût a longtemps été négligé par les Food

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Plastic Packaging, Food Supply, and Everyday Life

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

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Food Knowledge and Migrant Families in Argentina

Collective Identity in Health

Mora Castro and Giorgina Fabron

This article presents an analysis of food practices of family groups that migrated from a rural territory in the uplands to an urban area in the lowlands of Argentina, with an emphasis on the change in how the groups obtained and consume food and

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Cultivating Civic Ecology

A Photovoice Study with Urban Gardeners in Lisbon, Portugal

Krista Harper and Ana Isabel Afonso

frames for efforts to promote urban gardening: ecological sustainability, economic rights, healthy food and social cohesion ( FAO 2010 ). Urban gardens are an important arena for civic ecology, defined as ‘local environmental stewardship actions taken to

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Afsaneh Hojabri

Iran that has received little to no attention within academic studies: Iranian women's food writing. The Emergence of Iranian Diasporic Women's Food Writing Since 2011, we have witnessed the rise in popularity of yet another category of writing