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‘Rescaling’ alternative food systems: from food security to food sovereignty

Wald, Navé, Hill, Douglas P.
Agriculture and human values 2016 v.33 no.1 pp. 203-213
food security, food sovereignty, politics
In this paper, we critically interrogate the benefits of an interdisciplinary and theoretically diverse dialogue between ‘local food’ and ‘alternative food networks’ (AFNs) and outline how this dialogue might be enriched by a closer engagement with discourses of food sovereignty and the politics of scale. In arguing for a shift towards a greater emphasis on food sovereignty, we contend that contemporary discourses of food security are inadequate for the ongoing task of ensuring a just and sustainable economy of food. Further, rather than treating the local and the global as ontologically given categories around which to contest the politics of food, it is our contention that recognising the socio-spatial aspects of the politics of scale has the potential to reinvigorate discourses of food security, food sovereignty and AFNs. Understanding scale as both fixed to a degree as well as contingent and dynamic has implications for an understanding of the role of food systems, for how the rescaled state privileges certain food systems and the possibilities for resistance through ‘jumping scale’ and food utopias. All of these aspects are significant if we are to fully comprehend and contest the challenges of envisioning and enacting real utopias of food sovereignty.