Reconnecting Consumers, Producers and Food: Exploring Alternatives

Reconnecting Consumers, Producers and Food: Exploring Alternatives

Reconnecting Consumers, Producers and Food: Exploring Alternatives

Reconnecting Consumers, Producers and Food: Exploring Alternatives

Synopsis

Reconnecting Consumers, Producers and Food presents a detailed and empirically grounded analysis of alternatives to current models of food provision. The book offers insights into the identities, motives and practices of individuals engaged in reconnecting producers, consumers and food. Arguing for a critical revaluation of the meanings of choice and convenience, Reconnecting Consumers, Producers and Food provides evidence to support the construction of a more sustainable and equitable food system which is built on the relationships between people, communities and their environments.

Excerpt

We live at a time when serious socio-economic, ethical and environmental problems associated with food regularly cause concern. Many people – consumers, producers, campaigners and policy-makers – are said to worry about the ways in which food is provisioned for a whole variety of interlinked reasons. Alongside the rapid technological changes associated with processes of industrialization and globalization in food production, processing and retailing, insistent critiques of the structures and relationships of food provision are now gathering momentum. There is a growing recognition that the very values underpinning contemporary food supply arrangements are in need of critical scrutiny (Food and Agriculture Organization 2001). In other words, to what extent and how do we value food, its production, its distribution and its consumption?

Indeed, some of the key ethical questions of our time relate to food. For example, how can we address food inequalities, and the challenge of the so-called 'obesity epidemic'? How can trade relations be structured more fairly, especially for small-scale food producers and growers? How much should consumers know (or be told, or want to know) about their food, and to what extent should they be 'trusted' or 'empowered' to choose the 'healthiest', 'fairest' and most ecologically benign foods? To what extent can scientists, processors, retailers and governments be 'trusted' to tell the whole story about food? How far should the environment be degraded, or animals have to suffer to produce food people want to buy? Such questions are, of course, addressing highly complex issues, but the point is, answering them requires an explicit evaluation and prioritization of values, which in turn can only be achieved through critical reflection on what societies and individuals are really prepared – and enabled – to care for. In this book, we aim to contribute to such an appraisal of the value of food, by examining some of the diverse ways in which consumers and producers are actively involved in . . .

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