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Title:Neoliberalism and alternative food movements: markets, the state, and knowledge production in Southern California
Author(s):Gresh, Rebecca A
Director of Research:Marshall, Anna-Maria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Marshall, Anna-Maria
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ghamari-Tabrizi, Behrooz; Dill, Brian; Reisner, Ann
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Alternative food movement
Food justice
Global food system
Southern California
San Diego
Abstract:Alternative food movements are promoted as solutions to environmental and social problems in the context of neoliberalism in the Unites States. Scholarly literature is divided over whether alternative food movements are reproducing the very structures of oppression they have sought to overcome, thus limiting the potential for systemic food change. My dissertation investigates how food justice is envisioned and practiced in this context through a qualitative research study of two alternative food projects in San Diego, California. One project is in a low-income, African American, and Latino locale, called Southeastern San Diego. They call themselves “Project New Village.” A second project is formed by white, affluent participants, located south of the city in the wild Tijuana River Estuary at the U.S. – Mexico border. They call themselves “San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project.” These two movements emerge from San Diego’s history as two different trajectories. I found that by building a community garden and local farmers market, PNV is resisting the legacy of institutional racism, class inequality, city disinvestment, and supermarket abandonment that forged Southeastern as a space of exclusion. Not simply a project about food, PNV uses food as a tool to empower the neighborhood by engaging educational institutions in the project, creating employment opportunities through the garden and neighborhood market, forging community bonds, and teaching critical knowledge about food and nutrition from their perspective. Strategically using the garden and market as a tool to leverage city support, they can position themselves in ways that can advocate for policy transformation. The obstacles they face, such as that of law enforcement patrols interrupting their community rebuilding efforts, are very different hurdles than those faced by privileged settings. The location and affluence of SDRS leaders and participants lends a different approach to food justice work. I learned that SDRS is resisting the legacy of development in San Diego that has given rise to suburban sprawl, little land for farming, importing food to survive, and environmental destruction. SDRS challenges this past by creating local markets around sustainable food production. Building on sustainable agriculture by using permaculture, dry land farming techniques, and experimenting with the local habitat, SDRS is contributing to new knowledge about how to farm ecologically in San Diego. In addition to selling their produce at the farm and local venues, they work to create a new generation of sustainable farmers, and enlightened consumers.
Issue Date:2017-07-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Rebecca Gresh
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08

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