Taking action to re-localise the global food system : if not now, when?
Reichert, Patricia M.
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SubjectCOVID pandemic & climate change; food sovereignty; food system transformation; local food short supply chain; PAR methodology; re-territorialising food
This dissertation reports on a three-year participatory action research (PAR) initiative aimed at re-localising the food system in a specific locale in Canada. It describes the process from theory to practice of building leadership and collaboration across the food sector—farming, fishing, processing, grocery, restaurant, institutional, policy, and investment—aimed at systematically developing a local food short supply chain. Emboldened by the immediacy of the intersection of a persistent pandemic with the climate crisis, participants are using an interdisciplinary lens to create a local food system based on a values proposition that takes the attributes of physicality, relationships, and scalability into account. In this context, the author suggests that locale is what matters most in considering what “local” means within the food system. Framed in critical social theory, this research reviews the literature that traces the global impacts of the green revolution from its origins to its present day concentrated corporate control, vertical integration, and financialisation of the industrial food system. It joins with others who understand that doing nothing to transform the food system is not an option. The dissertation provides a detailed description of the role of PAR in building shared meaning and sustainability in the dynamic process of food system transformation. The author offers a schematic of a local food short supply chain using a circular economy model that embeds participant values of diversity, equity, and sustainability. The research suggests that networking locale-based food systems may become a new globalising force that re-localises food culture and sovereignty. Keywords: food system transformation, reterritorializing food, local food short supply chain, COVID-19 pandemic, climate action, critical social theory, PAR methodology, food sovereignty
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