A food politics of the possible? Growing sustainable food systems through networks of knowledge

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Blay-Palmer, Alison ; Sonnino, Roberta ; Custot, Julien (2016)

There is increased recognition of a common suite of global challenges that hamper food system sustainability at the community scale. Food price volatility, shortages of basic commodities, increased global rates of obesity and non-communicable food-related diseases, and land grabbing are among the impediments to socially just, economically robust, ecologically regenerative and politically inclusive food systems. While international political initiatives taken in response to these challenges (e.g. Via Campesina) and the groundswell of local alternatives emerging in response to challenges are well documented, more attention is needed to the analysis of similarities between community approaches to global pressures. While we are not suggesting the application of a template set of good practices, the research reported in this paper point to the benefits of both sharing good practices and enabling communities to adopt good practices that are suited to their place-based capacities. The work also suggests that sharing community-derived good practices can support and reinforce global networks of sustainable community food systems, foster knowledge co-creation and ultimately cement collective action to global pressures. In turn these networks could enhance the sustainability and resilience of community food systems and facilitate wide scale food system transformation.
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