I’ve been invited to the poster session of Futures for Food conference in Turku with Beef Finland 2012 project. Few talks in the conference were interesting whilst most of the information was neither with fresh perspective nor new.
One particularly interesting talk I was with Birgit Busicchia, a PhD candidate at Macquarie University in Sidney researching the dimensions of food security policy in developed economies. Her research was a comparative analysis (between Australia, the UK, and France) of the dimensions of their respective food systems and policy environments. It was carried out in the tradition of political economy with historical institutionalism as an analytical framework to establish if there is a notion of food policy regime emerging from the research.
Some quotations from her conference abstract:
Is it reasonable to assume that different political economy contexts may have different futures of food? This comparative analysis proposes to explore how political economic variables impact upon and shape current and future food economies of selected developed countries. In view of the interplay between political systems and food systems, it subsequently attempts to imagine their respective futures.
Australia, the United Kingdom and France present significant variations as well as similarities to allow for assessing how national political structures, modes of interest mediation and varieties of capitalism construct their respective present and future food economies. Central to this analysis is the question of whether market based instruments and mechanisms, so pivotal to liberal market economies, can be politically enduring as well as being able to deliver adequate social, environmental and economically viable outcomes to the many challenges facing the national food economies. […]
[…] This analysis aids our understanding of the situation at present by identifying the principles underpinning the respective national food security discourses and gleans insights into the contested future of food in these wealthy nations.
Institutions can be the cause and remedies to economic, social, and environmental shocks and their associated problems. For instance, the protection of the farmer’s rights have enabled small to medium size farming entities to remain active within the French agricultural sector. In contrast, Britain’s market based mechanisms regulating land ownership have pushed agricultural land prices to unaffordable levels, thus prohibiting entries of new players in the agricultural sector. Today in France, about half of the population live in rural or near rural area working directly and indirectly in agriculture whereas in Australia most of farming is done by the gigantic corporations and only 2% of the population reside in rural area.
How policy changes the course of food culture as well as national population distribution is a food for thought for this weekend, right? You can see Busicchia’s recent writings on The Conversation here.