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The Need to Feed: Urban Metabolic Struggles of Actually Existing Radical Projects

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Abstract

Cities are a locus for struggles over the ability for historically marginalized groups to feed themselves. These stratified spaces represent a distinct expression of the conventional agrifood system: the undernutrition/malnutrition paradox. By investigating the food politics of two organizations – Food Not Bombs in Orlando, FL and People’s Grocery in West Oakland, CA – this article advances scholarship on how activists are working to heal and prevent further individual and social metabolic rifts tied to urban food systems. Particularly regarding food access, strategies to resist and transform the conditions producing experiential and cognitive alienation and the commodification of land and labor often emerge from interstitial spaces. Yet, radical food politics is embedded within ongoing processes of neoliberalization that complicate and oftentimes blunt their transformative potential. In short, this article investigates the potential for and challenges faced by ‘actually existing radical projects’ working to lessen/end hunger and diet-related health problems.
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