Mass retailing affected how people shop for food but also how the food was distributed all along, the local and global supply chain. Supermarkets are the largest and which holds more of the power in the agri-food supply chains. Thus they also affect what happened with other possible grocery shops, such as the smaller shops, farmers markets and wholesale markets of fruits and vegetables.
There has been some resistance to the supermarket model. For example, consumer activist have lead some changes through i) Local Agrifood Systems and ii) Alternative Systems such as fair trade, food sovereignty, supranational certification agencies (Clapp, 2012). Local Agrifood System (Systèmes ...view middle of the document...
Under the same approach also it is conceived another type of ‘locality’ more focused on the justice of the market, quality of the products and the commodity chain distribution process.
Both systems are looking for transform or resist the dominant food system (Bowen and Mutersbaugh, 2013), and in some degree contribute to the de-commodification of food, specially the SYAL approach. SYAL have an understanding of culture and place as meaningful to the process of food production and consumption. However, the important point in here is that are not only from public policy or big industries can make changes, also people, mass consumer knowledge and reflection over the system functioning mattered to the food provisioning scholars.
Why self-consciousness matter to consumption? The decommodification of food is deeply related to collective action, cooperation, trust and knowledge that culture and know-how of people in specific places bring to the whole process. The current agri-food production is a stratified food system, which perpetuated the inequalities in its productions, but the attention of consumers is diverted elsewhere (Jonhston, 2007). Therefore, the different approaches to the resistance of supermarket model bring to the table self-consciousness about the everyday food provisioning.
Also mattered to the ‘mind-numbing’ activities of grocery shopping, which is one of the activities where the people negotiated and sustained consumer society. As Johnston points out “Consumer societies valorize an ideal of consumer sovereignty where individual choice is prioritized over collective action to combat social problems, and the ideals of citizenship – a concept embodying rights and responsibilities for the common good – are minimized” (p.14)
Critics of the agri-food system have been presented alternative ways to think food provisioning and also a possibility for renegotiate the passive role of consumer (Clapp, 2012, Jonhston, 2008). However a deeper understanding of the forces that drive mass consumption of food and the gendered context is necessary for analyses the process and practices of food provisioning with details.
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