CfP AAG2018: Rethinking Food Access Research. Questioning food alterity: Imagining new pathways to food security

Organizers: Angela Babb (Indiana University) & Joshua Lohnes (West Virginia University)

Discussant: Alison Alkon (University of the Pacific)

Many eaters now engage with ethical supply chains as a form of resistance against the dominant or “conventional” food system (Allen, 2004; Barnett et. al, 2005). Farmer’s markets, community gardens, food hubs, CSAs and local food coalitions work to change and rebuild the food system “from below”. This struggle has redefined the politics of eating (Guthman, 2008) embodied within practices such as “voting with your fork”. Often , owever, such alternatives reinforce social divides because they fail to reach or include those most vulnerable to food insecurity, and tend to reproduce structural violence. (Slocum, 2007; Hayes-Conroy and Martin, 2010; Alkon and Mares, 2012).

How do we go beyond this critique to cultivate truly just food systems without privileged notions of alterity? How can we envision an alternative food system that engages with a more diverse cast of actors from within the existing food system? What is the impact of state based and corporate resource allocation models at different scales, and what are the opportunities for creating alternatives from within these more entrenched food spaces? How do we transform the food system without reproducing structural inequalities, particularly those borne out of racism, patriarchy, class politics and neocolonialism?  Geographers are well positioned to wrestle with these questions, particularly with regards to translating food and nutrition policy to the distribution of resources within local and regional food systems. This call for papers then seeks scholarship on the following themes:

  • Alternative food systems that promote food security/justice/sovereignty for the most vulnerable populations
  • Practicing food justice from within dominant food systems
  • Food Innovation Districts and other initiatives to change food policy
  • Community projects that specifically address structural inequality in food systems
  • Food security/justice/sovereignty initiatives that engage diverse stakeholders
  • Research incorporating race, gender, class and/or neocolonial theory into the production of alternative food spaces.
  • Alternative methodologies for analyzing or addressing issues of food security/justice/sovereignty

Please send a title and brief abstract (250 words) to and by October 15th, 2017


  • Alkon, A.H. and Mares, T.M., 2012. Food sovereignty in US food movements: radical visions and neoliberal constraints. Agriculture and Human Values, 29(3), pp.347-359.
  • Allen, P. 2004. Together at the Table: Sustainability and Sustenance in the American Agrifood System. Penn State University Press
  • Barnett, C. et. al. 2005. Consuming ethics: articulating the subjects and spaces of ethical consumption. Antipode 37 (1), 23–45
  • Guthman, Julie. 2008. Neoliberalism and the making of food politics in California. Geoforum. 39:1171­1183
  • Hayes‐Conroy, A. and Martin, D.G., 2010. Mobilising bodies: visceral identification in the Slow Food movement. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35(2), pp.269-281.
  • Slocum, R., 2007. Whiteness, space and alternative food practice. Geoforum, 38(3), pp.520-533.

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