Food security framings within the UK and the integration of local food systems
Kirwan, J. and Maye, D. (2013) Food security framings within the UK and the integration of local food systems. To be published in Journal of Rural Studies. ISSN 0743-0167 [In Press]
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2012.03.002
This paper provides a critical interpretation of food security politics in the UK. It applies the notion of food security collective action frames to assess how specific action frames are maintained and contested. The interdependency between scale and framing in food security discourse is also scrutinised. It does this through an examination of “official” UK food security approaches and the place of local food systems within these debates. The paper shows how the UK government’s approach to food production and food security has been underpinned by the notion of resilience, which it considers is best achieved through sustainable intensification, market liberalisation and risk management, with local food systems largely sidelined within these “official” framings. Nevertheless, collective action frames are socio-political constructs which are open to contestation; they are not static entities and are part of a mobile multiorganizational political field. The notion of incompleteness and fragility is highly pertinent to an examination of debates about the contribution that local food systems can make to food security within the UK, suggesting that the “official” interpretation of food security can be challenged to be more inclusive and to accommodate social justice imperatives. Adopting this more holistic perspective broadens UK definitions of food security beyond the quantity of food available to encompass the needs of communities, households and individuals, offering a more transformative and progressive role for local food systems, notwithstanding the significance of asymmetrical power relations.
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