- Food Research Collaboration

Report
Let’s re-instate the hyphen:
agri - culture
Jane Dixon, Australian National University
Food [email protected] University, October 2014
The problem with food culture: 2013
talk
Healthy eating practices: culture in consumption
• Moral arts of everyday life
• De-legitimisation of traditional & bureaucratic
authorities, and rise of charismatic, commercial
authorities
• The corporate shaping of a culinary culture
which favours: cheap, convenient & novel
• (Affluent) consumer demand for particular
cultural qualities/values (convenience, health)
affects supply
2
Message: 2014 talk
Ignoring the cultural dimensions within agriculture has implications for:
Farming system viability: agriculture without
farmers?
Environmental sustainability: the metabolic
rift
Nutrition security: another form of metabolic
rift
3
Culture: a blue print for action; evolves; is powerin-action
Ideas, knowledge, language, discourses and practices...
a blueprint guiding but not dictating what is imaginable,
moral and doable; it evolves and is contested
culture forms part of the multi-factorial exercise of power
operating in concert with social, economic and
environmental/natural factors
operates at multiple levels: global, nation state,
village/community, household and individual levels
(Banwell, Ulijaszek & Dixon 2013)
4
CAN A CULTURAL LENS MAKE
SENSE OF AGRICULTURAL
TRANSITIONS AND FUTURES?
5
THE DIFFUSION OF THE
CONTRACT MODEL OF
FARMING
6
The contract model of labour relations
A history: US
• 1930s: Emerges in Northeast as system of independent
companies selling to urban markets
• 1940s-1950s: Relocates to US South to take advantage of lowwage workers, marginal land for production, and history of
sharecropping
• 1950s-1960s: Vertical integration based on contract production
rationalizes the industry and increases efficiency; independent
system disappears
• 1980s-2000s: Contract poultry growers organize and complain
to US government of integrator monopsony opportunism based
on debt bondage
• 1970s-2010s: US poultry model diffused to other countries by
poultry TNCs: Purina, Tyson, Pilgrim, Cargill
(Constance et al. 2014)
Cultural processes facilitate flows of
ideas, norms and practices
Key processes include: imposition through
rules or laws; socialisation and peer
pressure; diffusion of innovations,
emulation, mimesis; commodity use (Banwell,
Ulijaszek & Dixon 2013)
9
THAILAND
Range of production sectors
The Kitchen to the World
• commercialize agriculture and bring
farmers into the cash economy
• small holder farmer participation in agribusiness dominated, export-oriented
production
• rural Thai incomes rise, purchase food
products they do not produce themselves
and become more food secure (Kelly et al. under
review)
13
International agency support for
contract farming
• provides participants with inputs, advice
and guaranteed market
• enables poor farmers to overcome entry
barriers and participate in global value
chains
• leads to poverty reduction and
rejuvenation of small scale agriculture
• leads to emergence of a prosperous
Smalley 2013
peasantry
Qualifying the benefits
• The contracts are not the outcome of equal
participation or power
• Leads to a loss in autonomy of the farmer
• Contracting firms benefit from the self
exploitation of peasants, and deskills them
turning them into piece workers
• Contracting firms benefit from donor agencies
which support smallholder contract farming
• Unintended consequences on rural society
cohesion – insider-outside differentiation
(Smalley 2013)
The ‘sufficiency economy’
• Move small landholders towards selfreliant farms: with 4 zones for water
storage, rice cultivation, fruit and
vegetable crops and practice animal
husbandry.
• The practice of low chemical, sustainable
mixed agriculture
• Subsistence versus sufficiency production
(Kelly et al. under review).
16
Implications for nutrition, bio-security & the
environment: ungeneralisable & contestable
• Thai farmers are amongst the poorest
citizens (Kelly et al. 2014 )
• “[A] premodern agricultural system – based on pigs,
ducks, chickens and centuries-old technology – could
well turn out to be the greatest threat to the postmodern
food system” (Watson referring to SARS in China, 2008)
• Contract farming has introduced more
fertilisers, vet medicines and pesticides
than earlier mixed farms... (sometimes necessary!)
17
THE BEE KEEPER VERSUS
THE CONSERVATIONIST
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Honeybee ecologies
• Like humans, honeybees have specific dietary
requirements: proteins, carbohydrates, minerals,
fatty acids, vitamins and water
• like humans, healthy bees can better resist
diseases
• Australia’s native forests provide the European
honeybee with the richest diet on earth.
19
European honey bee*: globally
• 35% of the world’s crops depend on animal
pollination (Klein 2007)
• Absence of animal pollination estimated to
reduce agricultural production by 3-8% (Aizen 2009)
• Agricultural intensification not the answer: lack of
suitable ag. lands; cost of inputs becoming more
expensive; intensification “jeopardizes wild bee
communities and their stabilizing effect on pollination
services at the landscape scale” (Klein 2007, p. 303)
20
The European honey bee: Australia
• Honey production, bees wax = $60m pa
• Pollination services to agriculture ($4-8b)
Many crop and pasture species are heavily or
totally reliant on bees for pollination. Commercial
prosperity within the agricultural sector requires
bees. So does the food security of Australia…
BUT:
1700 commercial beekeeping businesses, average
age = 54, income = $15400, education = year 10
(RIRDC 2010)
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Threats to E. honeybee industry
sustainability
• Pests: small hive beetle, Asian bee/ Varroa mite
• Falling price paid by honey processors &
growing competition from imported honey
• Lack of demand for urban orchard pollination
service
• Urban development destroying timber stands &
diminished access to parks, so on the road for
more weeks agisting hives
(Dixon 2013; Edwards & Dixon in press)
22
Feral honeybees
“disrupt complex plant-pollinator systems
which have evolved between native plants
and animals over 1000s of years”
(Environment Conservation Council Victoria, 2001: p. 75)
23
Government regulations: E. honeybee
• 1 of 36 Key Threatening Processes (KTP), (with a KTP
defined under the NSW Threatened Species
Conservation Act 1995 as “Something that threatens or
could potentially threaten the survival or evolutionary
development of a species, population or ecological
community”: NSW Environment & Heritage, 2011)
• “...beekeeping is inconsistent with the management
principles of National Park Tenure” (Queensland
Government)
• Co-existence, but apiary viewed alongside mining in
national park – ie low on priorities (Victorian Government)
24
Hot topics in invasive science
“What should be done in those rare
circumstances when invasive species
provide valued ecosystem services or
support threatened and endangered
species?”
(Union of Concerned Scientists 2001)
25
Sustainability use for conservation
Let’s recognise the essential role of use of
nature and living natural resources as part
of an overall conservation strategy (UN World
Conservation Strategy 1980)
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Proactive environmentalism now
The honeybee industry stands for and depends on the
preservation of native flora and hence has much in
common with those in the community whose values
support nature conservation and the establishment of
conservation reserves (AHBIC, 2007, p.9)
• Actively pursue a tree planting program on own
properties
• Encourage Landcare groups to plant known high value
nectar & pollen plants
• Address or pass on to interested parties information on
the value of various floral species as a resource for
nectar and pollen...
27
Dominance of contract farming practices &
A conservation system of belief as nature-human separation
IMPLICATIONS OF AGRICULTURE FOR
AGRICULTURALISTS
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Revisiting the ‘agrarian question’
• What position in the social class
structure/hierarchy do farmers occupy?
• Status linked to relationship to land/the
means of production & how labour is
rewarded and by whom....
29
Depeasantisation or agriculture without
farmers?
neo share-cropping production regime as
corporate capital invests in, sells and
moves production enterprises from one
locale to another, engaging producers
under tenuous contracts...
began with poultry, now extends to all
commodity sectors (Constance et al 2014)
Re-peasantisation
• pursuit of autonomy through managing a
self-controlled resource base
• distanced from markets in terms of inputs,
but linked to other markets on the output
side
• disposition for co-production, not with
other value chain actors located in
commodity markets, but with nature and
with local social networks and knowledges
(van de Ploeg 2008)
31
Cultural heritage: a helpful policy
support for agriculture?
The intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from
generation to generation, is constantly recreated
by communities and groups in response to their
environment, their interactions with nature and
their history, and provides them with a sense of
identity and continuity, thus promoting respect
for cultural diversity and human creativity
(2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage)
32
CONCLUSIONS
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The cultural turn remains invisible within agri-food
studies
• With exception of consumption practices – mainstream
vs alternative foodways; consumer views of risk
• Occasional glimpses in:
Textual analyses of government or corporation documents
looking for modes of power/governance
Actor network analyses of conventions
Postmodern interpretation of landscape values
Food Regimes theorising when considering ‘hidden’ forms
of power: environmentalism, nutritionalisation
34
Culture as a repertoire of capacities
• Possessed by producers, consumers & networks
alike
• Variable in time, space, social grouping/network
• Mobilised in different ways depending on
historical and structural relations & economic
resources
• Cultural contestations and flux-in-cultural identity
are important to identify because when
circumstances are unsettled, social
changes/agri-food transitions follow
35
Farmers as cultural actors
artisan, creator, scientist, educator,
conservator?
their styles of farming, and associated
rhythmic activities and value systems, are
pivotal to food system (un)sustainability
36

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