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New spaces of food justice

Herman, A. and Goodman, M. ORCID: (2018) New spaces of food justice. Local Environment, 23 (11). pp. 1041-1046. ISSN 1354-9839

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2018.1527302


‘Food is fundamental to life’ (Sbicca 2012, 456) and this shared need establishes food as a site of potential for connective and convivial practices and relations. Yet, when we realise that more than one billion people are undernourished worldwide (Food Ethics Council 2010), despite the fact that the world produces enough food to feed billions more than the current global population of seven billion (Holt-Gimenez et al. 2012), the social, political, economic and environmental challenges posed by contemporary food systems start to become apparent. Given current global production levels – whether we agree with the social and environmental implications of these or not – it is clear that malnutrition rates worldwide are not simply an indicator of agricultural praxis but demonstrate the continued, broader social and structural issues of access, equity and justice. Recognising that many feel increasingly disenfranchised from formal political representation, marginalised by a hegemonic neoliberal capitalism or disconnected from ‘healthy’ social or environmental relations, food offers an opportunity to re-engage individuals and society with critical questions and practices of justice because, as Allen (2008, 159) notes, ‘no other public issue is as accessible to people in their daily lives as that of food justice. Everyone – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or social class – eats. We are all involved and we are all implicated’. The multiplicity of ways in which we can engage with food – including growing, buying, eating, cooking, writing, processing, marketing, selling and watching – enacts its radical potential as a set of dynamic socio-material relations (Alkon 2013; Alkon et al. 2013) that can both conform to and subvert existing practices and understandings, enabling food to ‘speak’ to many different people in a range of different contexts. Although this multiplicity has its dangers (Heynen, Kurtz, and Trauger 2012), it also means that food matters and matters in complex and diverse ways: ‘It rallies people and it often induces unexpected changes in society’ (Van der Ploeg 2013, 999).

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:88745
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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