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Bringing good food to others: investigating the subjects of alternative food practice

[journal article]

Guthman, Julie

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Abstract Under the banner of food justice, the last few years has seen a profusion of projects focused on selling, donating, bringing or growing fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods inhabited by African Americans — often at below market prices — or educating them to the quality of locally grown, seasonal, and organic food. The focus of this article is the subjects of such projects — those who enroll in such projects `to bring good food to others,' in this case undergraduate majors in Community Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz who do six-month field studies with such organizations. Drawing on formal and informal communications with me, I show that they are hailed by a set of discourses that reflect whitened cultural histories, such as the value of putting one's hands in the soil. I show their disappointments when they find these projects lack resonance in the communities in which they are located. I then show how many come to see that current activism reflects white desires more than those of the communities they putatively serve. In this way, the article provides insight into the production and reproduction of whiteness in the alternative food movement, and how it might be disrupted. I conclude that more attention to the cultural politics of alternative food might enable whites to be more effective allies in anti-racist struggles.
Free Keywords alternative food practice; food deserts; organic food; racism; transcommunality; urban food security; whiteness;
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 431-447
Journal Cultural Geographies, 15 (2008) 4
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)