Building Blocks for Sustainable Food Systems [review of Sustainable Food Systems: Building a New Paradigm, edited by Terry Marsden & Adrian Morley]
This is an ambitious book; it is not a light undertaking to build a "new paradigm" for sustainable food systems. The authors and editors succeed in notable ways, although there are questions about the applicability of the framework and analysis they present outside Western Europe, where most of the contributors are based, and beyond the concerns and activities of relatively privileged people in that region.
In the final chapter, Marsden describes this "new paradigm" as one of "social and economic creativity and care...that shines a strong light upon the existing unsustainable conditions... It needs to be a paradigm that starts as much with the critical social and public priorities as with the economic; and it needs to be able to shape the latter through imagining and designing more effective...state-based interventions and actions" (p. 206). Chapters in the book are conceived as "key building blocks" of this paradigm, such as regulation and governance mechanisms, public procurement, the design of urban food systems, sustainable supply chains, the rural-urban nexus, biosecurity risks, and animal welfare. Chapters describe work conducted over the past 10 years through Cardiff University's Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability & Society, which Marsden directs....
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