Jón Þór Pétursson (University of Iceland)
Paper short abstract:
At the organic store Yggdrasill, people could sip tea, swap stories, sniff apples, and vilify parents who give their kids "industrial" baby-food. In this paper, I explore ways in which dwelling at an organic store created intimate relationships and a sense of belonging to an organic food community.
Paper long abstract:
How can the sweet smell of an organic apple make you feel at home? What can feelings of love and affection, trust and gratitude, anger and anxiety, doubt and disappointment, tell us about how people establish food communities and intimate relationships within the long distances of the food chain? One thing that often distinguishes organic food from other food is the emotional engagement of organic producers, middlemen and consumers. Selling and shopping for organic food, for instance, are emotional practices that create and sustain specific food values. At the Icelandic organic store Yggdrasill, customers slowly pushed earthy, dark-green shopping carts between aisles, and at the counter they shared small talk with the staff while packing the groceries. In many ways, Yggdrasill was an "alternative" shopping space in contrast to "mainstream" retail spaces, with regard to its ideas, identity, practices and products. For many people the store even felt like a "community center" where they could hang out and relax, sip organic tea, swap stories, sniff apples, and vilify parents who give their kids "industrial" baby-food. In this paper, I explore ways in which dwelling at the organic store Yggdrasill created intimate relationships and a sense of belonging to an organic food community.
Food for thought (and dwelling) in uncertain times