The other food system(s): informal, non-monetary and alternative food practices I

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Bacchus, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Organizers: Christoph Rupprecht, Mai Kobayashi, Ayako Kawai
Chairs: Mai Kobayashi


This is session 1 of 3 on The other food system(s).

Sustainable food discourses often focus on food as a commodity, drawing on data and analyses of production and consumption organized in the market economy and regulatory frameworks (laws, regulations, taxes, trade agreements etc.). Reasons for this focus include the availability of statistical data, implementation of policy interventions through established regulatory actors and processes, and alignment with dominant socio-economic paradigms (capitalism, property rights, monetary exchange of goods, wage labour, nation states).

However, recent work (e.g. Vivero-Pol 2017) shows that such a focus neglects the diversity and complexity of human food practices, including social, cultural, moral and environmental aspects. Researchers have documented a rich variety of informal, non-monetary and alternative food practices, including home and community gardening and processing, food and recipe sharing, non-commercial hunting and livestock keeping, seed saving, wild food foraging, dumpster diving etc. (e.g. Hardman & Larkham 2014, Kamiyama et al. 2016, McClintock et al. 2016, Moore & Kosut 2013, Schulp et al. 2015). These practices shape both humans and environment in different ways than food as a commodity and its associated practices do. While their existence at the margins or outside or regulatory frameworks can also cause legal and social frictions, they are also commonly associated with increased local resilience.

It remains unclear how informal, non-monetary and alternative food practices can contribute towards sustainable food systems, food sovereignty and food security. This session seeks to contribute towards better understanding such practices from a wide variety of perspectives. Potential paper topics include, but are not limited to:

- further work on the examples listed above
- definitions and common terminology linking and framing informal practices
- potential role of such practices as a “third path” based on autonomy and solidarity beyond the intrusion of authoritarian big government into individual freedom and the austerity and inequity of neoliberal small government
- political ecology of informal, non-monetary and alternative food practices
- spatial mapping (e.g., land use, GIS, remote sensing), temporal mapping or conceptual UFP mapping (actors, mechanisms, pathways, processes) of informal, non-monetary and alternative food practices
- identify benefits and risks of such practices to evaluate and possibly model contributions to sustainability, food sovereignty and food security

Alber, J., Kohler, U., 2008. Informal Food Production in the Enlarged European Union. Social Indicators Research 89, 113–127. doi:10.1007/s11205-007-9224-1
Hardman, M., J. Larkham, P., 2014. Informal Urban Agriculture, Urban Agriculture. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
Kamiyama, C., Hashimoto, S., Kohsaka, R., Saito, O., 2016. Non-market food provisioning services via homegardens and communal sharing in satoyama socio-ecological production landscapes on Japan’s Noto peninsula. Ecosystem Services 17, 185–196. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.01.002
McClintock, N., Mahmoudi, D., Simpson, M., Santos, J.P., 2016. Socio-spatial differentiation in the Sustainable City: A mixed-methods assessment of residential gardens in metropolitan Portland, Oregon, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning 148, 1–16. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.12.008
Moore, L.J., Kosut, M., 2013. Buzz: urban beekeeping and the power of the bee. New York University Press, New York.
Schulp, C.J.E., Thuiller, W., Verburg, P.H., 2014. Wild food in Europe: A synthesis of knowledge and data of terrestrial wild food as an ecosystem service. Ecological Economics 105, 292–305. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.06.018
Vivero-Pol, J., 2017. Food as Commons or Commodity? Exploring the Links between Normative Valuations and Agency in Food Transition. Sustainability 9, 442. doi:10.3390/su9030442


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Christoph Rupprecht*, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Food and informality: conceptualizing the other food system(s) 20 8:00 AM
Presenter Courtney Gallaher*, Northern Illinois University, Kristen Borre, Northern Illinois University, Assessing the impact of community garden design on food security and food sovereignty 20 8:20 AM
Presenter Naomi Shimpo*, University of Tsukuba, The little cost for your own food: Comparison of fees for urban gardening sites in Japan and Germany 20 8:40 AM
Presenter Nicola Livingstone*, UCL, Constellations of hunger: Discourses of Urban Food Insecurity in the UK 20 9:00 AM
Presenter Kazuhiko Ota*, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, How do we describe the enjoyment of informal food practices?: Analysis of theoretical framework and key concepts 20 9:20 AM

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