Project

FoodAlternatives.at: Exploring values-based modes of production and consumption in the corporate food regime

Goal: We analyse values-based modes of production and consumption (VBMPC) in food and agri-culture to reveal their potential as small and mid-scale initiatives to change the current corpo-rate food regime. We address the restructuring of agricultural value chains in their political-economic, social-ecological and spatial-scalar dimension. Our aim is to examine how new relations between producers, processors, traders and consumers emerge and how VBMPC in different countries under different institutional frameworks can be up-scaled.

Date: 1 March 2021 - 28 February 2025

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Project log

Robert Hafner
added an update
We have now officially launched our project website FoodAlternatives.at, being a hub for new concepts, methods & toolboxes, literature lists and (international) cooperation.
For regual updates, you can also reach us via @foa_at on Twitter!
 
Robert Hafner
added a research item
In the face of looming population growth of nearly 10 billion people by 2050, the earth’s temperature rising creating uncontrollable climatic conditions of extreme variability and intensities new approaches are needed to support an equitable and just food system. Over the years multinational corporations that have commandeered the food system have altered how much of the public approaches obtaining their food, its packaging, their eating and cooking traditions to the extent that food and conviviality are losing their place at the meal table, hearth, and shared space. Around the world, super processed foods are found that are overly packaged, embedded with hidden ingredients, sugar being a huge factor that is leaving a profound impact on people’s health and quality of life. Cheap food is often lower in quality, higher in sugars and contributing to obesity around the world. Similarly, with corporations at the helm along with their access to advanced technology, a workforce is displaced in the field. Mechanization of farming requires fewer laborers at many levels. To turn things around for the future, especially enlight of the coronavirus pandemic, protecting arable lands, potable waters, additional small farmers are needed worldwide to meet food needs globally. The aim of the virtual workshop is to relate the debate of social-ecological food production and distribution to a degrowth perspective. It will illustrate ways in which it is possible to develop a community around farming and eating as a means of integrating diverse populations at all economic levels into a local community sharing in and benefiting from the environment. However, the models needed for the north and south will be different as they will be for each country and community. Therefore, this workshop will give insight into different approaches to transform the agriculture and food system in different contexts in Europe and North America. Examples from Estonia and Croatia highlight different post-socialist contexts, in which practices such as Food Self-Provisioning and home gardening still resist the ‘modernized’ agri-food system to a considerable extent. The Austrian case gives insights into Community Supported Agriculture as a niche within food system, which is shaped by small-scale and mountain farming. In contrast, the American example emphasizes niches within a highly industrialized farming context. Such different approaches influence the aims of degrowth. Positive effects of small-scale farming or collectively farming on a community farm may promote interest for a younger generation of farmers entering into the agriculture and food system, working on a smaller-scale also allows the possibility for resettled immigrants to participate in the food system as well and express solidarity, maintain social linkages, relations of power and some of their cultural heritage as they grow and share their harvest within a local community. By supporting local agriculture and food systems, the goal of this workshop is to identify local strategies that succeed and/or fail in the functioning of the niches in the food regime as well as the obstacles that hinder progress. Additionally, we will scrutinize whether the identified strategies could be integrated into general concepts. Further on, the workshop focuses on the change agents that contribute to social movements within the food systems, such as the civil society, governmental institutions, and organizations such as farming unions and NGOs.
Robert Hafner
added an update
We are now fully funded by the FWF Postdoc-Programme for Innovative, Interdisciplinary Teams called Young Independent Researcher Groups!
This means that we can continue our project work, engage in in-depth field work in Argentina, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland, develop a new theoretical framework towards Agrofood Studies 2.0, learn from each other's disciplines (Political Sciences, Sociology, Geography), and develop a new methodological toolset that includes beyond-rational approaches.
 
Robert Hafner
added a research item
Current globalized agricultural and food systems operate with an unsustainable capitalist model of production and consumption. The middle and upper classes of the global North and, increasingly, of emerging economies live at the expense of the global South. This has been referred to as the “imperial mode of living”. An alternative model of production and consumption that fosters localized food systems in the corporate food regime is community supported agriculture (CSA), which aims to redefine consumer-producer relations along not just economic values. Against this background, the paper introduces an interdisciplinary conceptual framework for values-based modes of production and consumption where three categories – institutions, values and materiality – inform the empirical analysis. It examines the extent to which CSA can realize their values-based approach and how they transform the third food regime. The paper links CSA to the currently dominant third food regime and shows that, so far, CSA is just a niche in Austria. In the Austrian context, different forms of solidarity and attachment to the community are central shared ideals of CSA members and their supporters. Those values also respect nature and its materiality. However, at the same time, CSA initiatives, when implemented in daily practices, are confronted with institutional, social and material challenges. These need to be addressed if CSA is to continue long-term.
Robert Hafner
added a research item
Dieser Beitrag beleuchtet die Rolle von wertebasierten Produktions- und Konsumweisen im dritten Nahrungsmittelregime. Anhand der drei analytischen Dimensionen Institutionen, Materialität und Werte werden Beispiele Initiativen Solidarischer Landwirt-schaft in Österreich mittels qualitativer Sozialforschung explorativ untersucht. Ergebnisse zeigen auf, dass Initiativen solidarischer Landwirtschaft bislang als Nische existieren. Zusammenfassend kann es als experimentelle Basis für wertebasierte Produktions- und Konsummodi verstanden werden
Robert Hafner
added a project goal
We analyse values-based modes of production and consumption (VBMPC) in food and agri-culture to reveal their potential as small and mid-scale initiatives to change the current corpo-rate food regime. We address the restructuring of agricultural value chains in their political-economic, social-ecological and spatial-scalar dimension. Our aim is to examine how new relations between producers, processors, traders and consumers emerge and how VBMPC in different countries under different institutional frameworks can be up-scaled.