Food and informality: conceptualizing the other food system(s)

Authors: Christoph Rupprecht*, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Cultural Geography, Geographic Theory
Keywords: food, informality, social practices, commons, degrowth, care
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Bacchus, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Alternative food practices challenging the dominant image of food as a commodity. From gardening to gathering, sharing to bartering, such practices traverse gradients from legal to illegal, regulated to unregulated, for-profit to non-profit, tolerated to socially unacceptable. This explains why, despite the rich research on the diversity of alternative food practices, our theoretical and conceptual understanding remains limited.
Here I examine what definitions, frameworks and narratives informal, non-monetary and alternative food practices are associated with. Based on this analysis, I consider the significance of the spaces in which such practices exist: could a ‘third path’ based on autonomy and solidarity avoid both the intrusion of authoritarian big government into individual freedom and the austerity and inequity of neoliberal small government? For this purpose, I draw upon emerging discourses around degrowth, food as a commons, landscape stewardship, and care.

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