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About the project

The project 'Food citizens?' examines the consequences and premises of collective food procurement in three European cities (Rotterdam, Turin, and Gdańsk).

Food as mediator of social relations

For a growing European urban population (80% by 2050), food is a mediator of relations within social networks, not only a commodity or nutrient. Eaters are not just consumers, but social actors whose meaning-making depends on faith, gender, age, income, kinship, and other sociocultural factors.

Challenging stereotypical imaginaries of European urbanites, a multilevel comparison in three European cities will investigate multiple types of collective food procurement networks: a. urban foraging; b. short food chains; c. local food governance. Our fieldsites represent post-industrial cities, in which we  observe and analyze the cultural dimensions of solidarity, diversity, skill, and scale of action. Ethnographically, we investigate how collective food procurement networks engage with and through food: How do they interpret and articulate solidarity? Which skills do they acquire or lack? How do they operate across and within diverse communities? Do they scale ‘up’ or ‘out’, and how? 

Members of a Solidarity Purchase Group (G.A.S.) in Northern Italy bought a truck-full of oranges from producers who cultivate orchards in the South of the country (1300 km away). Short food chains are not necessarily short in physical distance, but cut down the amount of chains in the process. (Photo by: Giovanna Capponi)
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