Presentation on theme: "PUREFOOD (Grant Agreement Number 264719) is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework PEOPLE program."— Presentation transcript:
PUREFOOD (Grant Agreement Number 264719) is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework PEOPLE program. This presentation does not reflect the opinion of the European Commission. Urban, peri-urban and regional food dynamics: toward an integrated and territorial approach to food Notions of Alternativeness in Co-operative Food Retailing: Mainstreaming Co-operation: An Alternative for the 21 st Century? The Co-operative College Research Conference Manchester, England, UK, 5 July 2012 Cheron Constance firstname.lastname@example.org
Presentation Outline About me and my project What’s wrong with our food system? Why AFNs and co-operatives? Research early understanding and next steps Conclusion
Background Me: BA in the Growth and Structure of Cities MSc in Food Policy Food, progressive activism, consumer advocacy (on EU/international levels), Quakers Project: PUREFOOD socio-economic and socio-spatial dynamics of the (peri-)urban and regional foodscape Social movements and the food regime
Food System Triumphs: Food is widely produced, cheap, and abundant Diets are diversified Externalities: Environmental degradation Epidemic levels of diet-related disease Decreased farming income in rich and poor countries Nearly 1bn hungry each day
Alternative food networks (AFNs) and food social movements:
Transitionist Little emphasis on systemic change Gastronomic pleasure Seasonality/locality Immediate concerns about getting food into communities
Transformationist Radical restructuring of the food regime Landless workers movements Campaigning to remove food from WTO negotiations/agreements
Food movements seek to… Challenge capital’s vertical and horizontal integration of the food system (Holt-Giménez, 2011) Re-establish locality and authentic relations (Hendrickson & Heffernan, 2002) Encourage resistance through connecting (C-P, P-P, C- C), embedding (goods/services), diversifying and intertwining (economic activities) (Wiskerke, 2007)
Consumption and democracy “In food, there is a titanic struggle between the forces of control and the pressure to democratize.” (Lang, 1999)
Co-operatives: a definition A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
What does a retail co-operative food shop look like?
Began in 1999 as a buy- ing club 1 shop with multiple mobile market stalls 4 paid staff, as well as active, working members 130 members but 2000 people served/month True Food, Reading, UK
Weaver’s Way, Philadelphia, US Started in 1972 Two shops – 1 located in a food desert Has over 5,000 members Strong interest in community relations Has 2 urban farm sites and a CSA Has a comprehensive education programme
How much can co-operatives be alternative, given that they must be successful business ventures operating in capital markets first?
What I’ve found so far…
Different alternative discourses
State of the Alternative Where do retail food co-operatives fit in the current debates about alternative food movements? Defines itself in an oppositional manner (Mouffe, 2005), including anti-business/anti-capitalist smaller is better BUT in the co-op world, a push for bigger!
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual retailer The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over six million consumers. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank, Britannia and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation. [...] The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 106,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn. http://www.co-operative.coop/corporate/aboutus/
How are retail food co-operatives discussed in the current alternative food movement literature in the US and the UK? Largely, they’re not, at least by that name. They’re addressed vis-à-vis locality context (maybe).
Going forward – Study how a co-operative’s expression of its identity and its democratic principles may be mediated over time – Examine a variety of factors, including its mission and genesis, size, and socio- political climate.
Case studies – Philadelphia Chester Mariposa
Case studies – Manchester? Unicorn Grocery 8 th Day
How are food co-operatives discussed in the political climates of the US (Phila.) and the UK? Interviews of co-operative scholars, officers in apex organisations, political figures.
Conclusion - UK versus US 1.Age and experience – young turks vs establishment 2.Social and political environment (socialism paranoia) 3.Legal forms and definitions – or lack thereof Warning: Not a comparative study
Thanks for your attention. PUREFOOD (Grant Agreement Number 264719) is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework PEOPLE program. This presentation does not reflect the opinion of the European Commission. Urban, peri-urban and regional food dynamics: toward an integrated and territorial approach to food Cheron Constance Social Sciences Group Department of Rural Sociology email@example.com