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.
Geographical Indications, Rural Development, and the Environment
Fabio Parasecoli and Aya Tasaki
Excerpt from Guillermo Giucci's Tierra del Fuego: La creación del fin del mundo
The idea of the world as a sphere was an old theoretical presupposition. Only with both the crossing of the Strait of Magellan and circumnavigation were the geographical areas unknown to the Europeans opened to global trade. Therefore, this world event would be inscribed in the annals of history as a marker of the beginning of modernity, the era of maritime colonization that forever altered the notion of radical isolation.
European Sugar Reform in Poland
Dong Ju Kim
In the last two decades, privatisation has been slowly progressing in Poland. I examine the case of beet-sugar factories in western Poland, which were privatised between 1995 and 2003. As this process was coming to an end, reform for the European Common Agricultural Policy was implemented and, after Poland joined the European Union, the European sugar market reform started to take shape as a result of a global trade dispute on subsidised sugar prices. I recount the story of sugar factory privatisation and multiple reform processes from the viewpoint of sugar beet farmers, factory managers, and local rural experts from the province of Wielkopolska in western Poland. These accounts will show how sugar market reforms affected the aftermath of privatisation and factory close-downs, and how these experiences have prompted local people to think of being Polish within Europe, but reluctantly European within a global framework of sugar trade.
Studying the socio-ecological systems which produce food highlights the entangled nature of humans, other species and ecosystems near and far. The three texts discussed in this essay have this awareness in the foreground. Participants in the solidarity economy and artisan cheesemakers know this, and the three authors do as well, demonstrating an integration of ecological awareness in their research and the pursuit of new knowledge. Cristina Grasseni, Heather Paxson and Anna Tsing trace connections and describe flows of organisms, food, skills and ideas, from the microbial community on the surface of a maturing cheese to global trade networks shaping mushrooms, mushroom pickers and forests. Each demonstrates the tight synergies of human culture and more-than-human nature that shape ecosystems and produce food beyond increasingly fragile capitalist industrial food production systems.