Food as a political practice: alternative farming in Spain
Cristina de Benito Moran
(Autónoma University of Madrid)
Paper short abstract:
Alternative farming initiatives are growing in Madrid. These farmers are trying to build an autonomous food system, contesting the hegemonic farming practices and the social relationships that support them. We will approach their practices, motivations, strategies and the problems that they face
Paper long abstract:
Based on a fieldwork of three years in the realm of food social movements in Spain, in this paper we will look at the practices of different small young farmers of Madrid and its surroundings who, from the perspective that food (in a wide sense) is a political matter, try to build an alternative food system through agro-ecological farming and direct links between consumers and producers. These farmers try not only to maintain their autonomy from the hegemonic agro-food system by implementing another relationship with soil and seeds, but also from the official system of organic agriculture in the country, and, in a broader sense, from what they understand as the capitalist society. In this way the strategies of creating links for exchange and support between different farmers and consumers has become an essential step in order to keep their autonomy from the market system. However, given that the meaning of autonomy is continually being negotiated through their practices and debates, we will approach this concept in a relational way. What they understand about autonomy and how they try to keep that autonomy depends on different situations and on different social agents involved in them. Finally we will also analyze their motivations and strategies and the problems and contradictions that they face when trying to build a non capitalist "way of doing things" in the heart of a capitalist society.
Soils, seeds and capitalism: political agronomy and the intimacies of farming