The solution cannot be conventionalized: Protecting the alterity of fairer and more sustainable food networks

Raquel Ajates Gonzalez (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    99 Downloads (Pure)


    The environmental, health, social justice and socio-economic challenges related to food production and consumption that have been extensively discussed in the literature, can be considered merely symptoms of a dysfunctional system. In contrast, in this chapter I argue that one of the biggest challenges of all facing the food system is in fact the continuous co-optation of potential solutions by the dominant regime, which perpetuates current dynamics and suffocates sustainable alternatives. This chapter discusses solution-based strategies ideated by actors operating in alternative food networks; their aim is to fight the marketization of social justice and ecological public health ideals and practices by and for the benefit of industrial food regimes. A layered framework to analyze these strategies is proposed around four interconnected categories: rediscovering new allies, fostering diversity, rethinking access to resources while redefining success and democratizing knowledge production. The four strategies come together as a solution to address two key challenges to fairer and more sustainable food systems: lack of diversity in conventional food relations and risk of co-optation of alternative practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSustainable Food Futures
    Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary Solutions
    EditorsJessica Duncan, Megan Bailey
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    ISBN (Electronic)9781138206168
    ISBN (Print)9781138207004
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2017

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment


    • Solidarity economy
    • Diversity
    • Co-optation
    • lternative food systems
    • Multi-stakeholder co-operatives

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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