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Accepted Paper:

Cultivating knowledge and practice  
Ben Campbell (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

Discussing 25 years participating in organic farm volunteering, and learning from exchange labour groups in Nepal Himalayas, the cooperative socialities of food growing will enable the prospects for overcoming current food crises with anthropological imagination.

Paper long abstract:

Starting from the point of view that anthropology and environmentally sustainable food growing need to be encouraged into a two-way relationship, this paper tracks learning iterations over thirty years of moving between gardens, allotments, kitchen tables and Himalayan terraces, comparative ethnography, social theory, and organic thinking and practice. Much of anthropology's contribution to imagining sustainable food culture is bound up in social practices that non-anthropologists exoticise, often to good rhetorical purpose, but perhaps missing the point that it is not so much arcane knowledge, or ritualised relations of instruction that make ongoing habits and desires of tastes and smells replicable, as practices of environmental personhood and mutual aid. By discussing participation in WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms/ World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) for over 25 years, and reciprocal exchange labour groups in Nepal, the cultural conditions of cooperative socialities in food growing will be contended with, and the prospects assessed for overcoming current food crises with anthropological imagination.

Panel W019
Crisis, environmental anthropology, and the garden: local resilience, sustainable living and alternative food production
  Session 1