Marvin Montefrio

Cultural Politics of Organic Food

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There has been an unprecedented emergence of new trends in the production, marketing and consumption of what is currently promoted as “sustainable” agri-food in Southeast Asia. Over the past decade, food stuff that claim to be “organic,” “local,” “farm-to-table,” “slow food,” to name a few, have started to emerge in farms, markets and retail establishments in many countries in the region. “Sustainable” agri-food is constituted by a complex matrix of the socio-economic, political and cultural processes and material transformations in the production, control, regulation, distribution, and consumption of food, all mediated by the production of knowledge at the intersections between the local and the global. While agrarian and environmental scholars have examined these processes in North America and Western Europe, very few have explored its emergence in the global South (particularly Southeast Asia). This research project inquires into the political economy and cultural politics of organic agri-food in the region, with particular emphasis on knowledge production. It will draw from multiple theoretical perspectives, mainly political ecology (intersections with critical agrarian studies), globalization studies, cultural studies, and STS.

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