“It’s hard to be strategic when your hair is on fire”: alternative food movement leaders’ motivation and capacity to act

Agriculture and Human Values 35 (3):595-609 (2018)

Abstract
Despite decades of struggle against the industrial food system, academics still question the impact of the alternative food movement. We consider what food movement leaders themselves say about their motivation to act and their capacity to scale up their impact. Based on semi-structured interviews with 27 food movement leaders in Michigan, our findings complicate the established academic narratives that revolve around notions of prefigurative and oppositional politics, and suggest pragmatic strategies that could scale up the pace and scope of food movement impacts. In contrast to the apolitical perspective some scholars see guiding alternative food movements, local leaders we interviewed see the food system from a structural-political lens. Though some see strength in fragmentation, most are not under the illusion that they can work alone and aspire to build their collective strength further. Concerns about organizational survival and conflicting views about the goals of the food movement, however, present ongoing challenges. Ultimately, we argue that there is a middle ground food movement leaders can walk between prefigurative and oppositional politics, one that still attempts to intentionally change the state, while also maintaining the inventiveness that can come from autonomous, grassroots initiatives. Specifically, interviewees suggested that increased strategic capacity around policy advocacy, critical food systems education, and negotiation could help them extend cross-movement networks and mainstream more equitable food policies, while continuing to experiment with customized solutions.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s10460-018-9850-z
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 42,401
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Growing Local Food: Scale and Local Food Systems Governance.Phil Mount - 2012 - Agriculture and Human Values 29 (1):107-121.
Coming in to the Foodshed.Jack Kloppenburg, John Hendrickson & G. W. Stevenson - 1996 - Agriculture and Human Values 13 (3):33-42.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

From Food Justice to a Tool of the Status Quo: Three Sub-Movements Within Local Food.Ian Werkheiser & Samantha Noll - 2014 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (2):201-210.
Liberalism and the Two Directions of the Local Food Movement.Samantha Noll - 2014 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (2):211-224.
Just Food: Philosophy, Justice and Food.Jill M. Dieterle (ed.) - 2015 - Rowman & Littlefield International.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-01-30

Total views
14 ( #565,504 of 2,255,313 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #374,821 of 2,255,313 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature