The recent ‘horse meat’ scandal might be regarded as the
latest transgression in food’s governmentality, another episode that reveals the
food system’s failure to provide assurances of the health and safety of its
otherwise cheap food. Yet while the corporate sector continues to strengthen
its grip on the supply chain, and public policy is preoccupied with ‘restoring
consumer confidence’, increasing numbers of households and communities throughout
the Global North are exploring alternative arrangements for procuring their
food. Relocalisation continues to resonate as the basis for greater
traceability and transparency, with new forms of social organisation emerging
that reveal a dynamic process of innovation and experimentation around food.
Community gardens, allotments and orchards; community supported agriculture,
box schemes and collective purchasing agreements: all attest to the vigour that
can be found at local level creating new practices and, arguably, a new
micro-politics around food. Such efforts serve to challenge and reshape
narrative boundaries, even while the discourse of cheap food remains paramount,
particularly at a time of economic austerity.