Food for Change – book review

Jeff Pratt & Pete Luetchford, Food for Change: the Politics and Values of Social Movements, Pluto Press

The editors of Food for Change are lecturers in Anthropology who have been carrying out a comparative study of alternative food systems in different locations. It is especially concerned with the politics of where food comes from and how alternative food movements have tried to create closed economic circuits for more responsive and responsible food production. The language is dense and jargon-rich, with a typical sentence such as “Analysing economic activities and relationships in the supply chain showed how the value of commodities is intertwined with power asymmetries shaped by gender, ethnicity and class” ticking all the PC boxes. I guess for an anthropologist this is all in a day’s work, but for a general reader interested in food and where it comes from the language might be a bit specialised and off-putting. However, the case studies are very interesting, with a strangely compelling explanation of the old mezzadria system in Tuscany and how it affects current food policy in Italy, and a fascinating discussion of the farmer’s markets and the battle with supermarkets in England.

Pluto Press

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