Locating Nation, State, and Identity in the Global Food Debate
The advocates of food security, food sovereignty, and indigenous sovereignty discuss the relative merits of each movement in Globalization and Food Sovereignty, a volume edited by Peter Andrée, Jeffrey Ayres, Michael J. Bosia, and Marie-Josée Massicotte. Like all rich academic discussion, the increasingly complex debate about food may be best understood where the philosophical and the practical converge. A good place to begin a discussion of the food debate may be in chapter four, located in the first third of the book. Professor Martha McMahon, sociologist by profession and farmer by vocation, has written a delightful and comprehensive analysis of one of the most interesting aspects of the food challenge. She describes, among other things, the specter of creeping government oversight and what for some is the equally frightening sensation of anarchical communalism.So far, government oversight prevails, as McMahon describes what could be an Orwellian vignette emerging in western Canada. Canada's governing authorities have developed a system to monitor farm animals. In this instance, the subject is the rare Cotswold breed of sheep, which now must wear birth-to-death electronic tracking devices. McMahon suggests that the effort to "follow the sheep" is rooted in the neoliberal global food pro¬gram of keeping food "plentiful and safe" (p. 117). According to McMahon, the extremes taken to keep food and farm produce abundant and safe highlight where food security advocates may be unwilling, or unable, to check excesses of corporate and government control; they also appear ambivalent about the need to promote "equitable social change" (p. 113)....
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