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Accepted Paper:

Between sabor, saber, and the market: food values and activism in a Lisbon urban garden  
Krista Harper (University of Massachusetts Amherst) Ana Isabel Afonso (FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa CRIA-NOVA)

Paper short abstract:

As producers, consumers, and neighborhood activists, urban gardeners ascribe economic, ecological, and social meanings to food. In planning the largest new community garden in Lisbon, Portugal, gardeners speak of food and production in terms of flavor (sabor), knowledge (saber), and economic values.

Paper long abstract:

The economic crisis in southern Europe has stimulated new interest in urban gardening and the value of gardens as sites of food production, activism, and ideologies. We draw upon ethnographic work with a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse sample of urban gardeners growing food in a neighborhood community garden in Lisbon, Portugal. While Portugal has a history of rural activism around agricultural land reform, urban food movements around local products, public health, organic farming, and community gardens have only recently emerged. Urban gardeners in Lisbon ascribe economic, ecological, and social values to the food they produce with their own hands. In planning the largest new community garden in Lisbon, participants debate how to produce and share food grown in common spaces as well as in household plots. These debates also reflect different values and goals. They contrast the value of their own produce with those foods available in supermarkets and the industrial food system. We explore how urban gardeners speak of food and food production in terms of flavor (sabor), traditional ecological knowledge (saber), and economic values. We focus on gardeners' mobilizations to gain access to land in the city and look at urban gardening as a privileged window to observe decisions and exchanges among gardeners of different social backgrounds, as food producers, consumers, and activists.

Panel P015
Food value and values in Europe: economic legacies and alternative futures in production and consumption
  Session 1