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From farm to fork, the conventional food chain is under enormous pressure to respond to a whole series of new challenges - food scares in rich countries, food security concerns in poor countries, and a burgeoning problem of obesity in all countries. As more and more people demand to know where their food comes from, and how it is produced, issues of place, power, and provenance assume increasing significance for producers, consumers, and regulators, challenging the corporate forces that shape the 'placeless foodscape'. Far from being confined to niche products, questions about the origins of food are also surfacing in the conventional sector, where labelling has become a major political issue.
Drawing on theories of multi-level governance, three leading scholars in the field explore the geo-politics of the food chain in different spatial arenas: the World Trade Organization, where free trade principles clash with fair trade concerns in the debate about agricultural reform; the European Union, where producers are under pressure from environmentalists for a more traceable and sustainable food system; and the US, where there is a striking contradiction between the rhetoric of free markets and the reality of a heavily subsidised farming sector. To understand the local impact of these global trends, the authors explore three different regional worlds of food: the traditional world of localised quality in Tuscany, the peripheral world of commodity production in Wales, and the frontier world of agri-business in California.
Kevin Morgan has taught at Cardiff University since 1989, prior to which he was a research fellow in the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University. His main research interests revolve around three core themes: regional innovation strategies, multi-level governance systems and sustainable food chains. He is the author of a number of articles and books, including The Associational Economy: Firms, Regions and Innovation, which was co-authored with Philip Cooke and published by Oxford University Press in 1998 (h/b) and 2000 (p/b). His current projects include an ESRC-funded research project called Delivering Sustainability: The Creative Procurement of School Meals in Italy and the UK and a Joseph Rowntree project on Regenerating Coalfield Communities. Terry Marsden has taught at Cardiff University since 1995 and has been a co-director of the ESRC Centre BRASS at Cardiff since 2003. He also holds visiting posts at the University of Helsinki and the University of Rome. His research interests include rural development, environmental policy and agri-food studies. Jonathan Murdoch has taught at Cardiff University since 1995. His main research interests include actor network theory, agri-food studies and environmental policy and planning. His most recent book is entitled Post-Structuralist Geography: A Guide to Relational Space (Sage, 2005). He is also part of the research team on a EU-funded research project on animal welfare in the European Union.
Introduction ; 1. Networks, Conventions, and Regions: Theorizing 'Worlds of Food' ; 2. The Regulatory World of Agri-food: Politics, Power, and Conventions ; 3. Geographies of Agri-food ; 4. Localized Quality in Tuscany ; 5. California: The Parallel Worlds of Rival Agri-food Paradigms ; 6. The Commodity World in Wales ; 7. Beyond the Placeless Foodscape: Place, Power, and Provenance ; Bibliography ; Index
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