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Counterhegemonic food discourses and geographies of food: are we losing the rural?

posted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Max KellyMax Kelly, Sonja Rewhorn
This chapter provides a critical analysis of a contemporary discourse on food, food systems and sustainability in Australia. It explores the apparent shift from food in a productive rural space, to food as a counterhegemonic discourse, frequently in, or linking urban spheres to a very limited subset of rural producers. The contemporary production of agriculture in rural Australia is driven by a paradigm of productivity, economic growth, efficiency, and technological innovation. Significant alternative visions of the food system cover a wide range of options with underpinning discourses of localisation, sustainability and social justice. Consumers, primarily in urban Australia, are increasingly driven by conscious consumption, including steady growth in organic food, interest in local food and shorter food supply chain products. Policy supporting alternative food is limited to local government where support of urban agriculture is increasing. Changing food preferences in urban centres drives decision-making in rural production systems. The core focus of this chapter is the fundamental changes or shifts in food production, and discourse, both in a rural and a urban context. The chapter questions the kind of binary that underpins a rural–urban dichotomy, exploring how the evolving food landscape engages, in particular with the predominantly urban population in Australia. In an Australian context, it asks the question of whether many rural producers are in danger of becoming invisible, in an increasing unsettled food sphere. This chapter argues the importance of broader and more equitable rural–urban linkages for sustainable food systems and for sustainable rural communities and landscapes.


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Publication classification

B1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2019, Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.




Pinto S, Hannigan S, Walker-Gibbs B, Charlton E



Place of publication


Title of book

Interdisciplinary unsettlings of place and space: conversations, investigations and research