From farm to fork: Commons as assemblages in the agri-food chain

Authors: Christina Sakali*, Ghent University
Topics: Economic Geography, Food Systems
Keywords: commons, assemblage theory, agri-food chain, without intermediaries
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 39
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In the 10-year period of economic crisis in Greece, we witnessed the emergence of community-led diverse food economies, whose origins can be traced to a spontaneous and organic evolvement of the Movement without Intermediaries. Both the Movement without Intermediaries and the diversity of initiatives inspired by it, sought to function as a counter-hegemony to the globalized, neoliberal food system which is heavily controlled by multinational corporations and was failing to meet the needs of a multiplicity of actors in the food chain.

By establishing short food chains, Markets without Intermediaries provided spaces for the constitution of communities among heterogeneous and otherwise remote actors, aiming to self-organize and share material and immaterial resources, practices and knowledge. These “from farm to fork” initiatives can be seen as examples of commoning the food chain by transforming power relations, reversing a historically unjust distribution of resources and in many cases democratizing work relations, for example in the case of food cooperatives.

Through the dialectical evolution of a movement and the commoning practices that it inspired, an alternative food politics was collectively developed, which transversed and reconfigured the food-chain through the principles of commons. Drawing on assemblage theory, this paper explores the emergence and evolution of food commons in austerity-ridden Greece, with the Movement and Markets without Intermediaries as points of departure. Through moments of de-territorialization and re-territorialization of the commons, the Movement without Intermediaries evolved into different forms of commoning the food chain, as well as a new institution without intermediaries, the Consumers’ Markets.

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