Healthy for you, healthy for the environment: Corporate capital, farming practice and the construction of 'green' foods

Lawrence, Geoffrey, Lyons, Kristen, and Lockie, Stewart (1999) Healthy for you, healthy for the environment: Corporate capital, farming practice and the construction of 'green' foods. Rural Society, 9 (3). pp. 543-553.

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[Extract] Many sociologists have identified what appears to be a tendency toward 'greening' in public policy discourse and in social practice. For Harper (1993) an enhanced understanding - and politicisation by green movements - of environmental degradation is viewed a key factor in the greening of policy.

Greening is, in large part, oppositional to the neo-conservative forces driving technological change. More broadly, Gray (1997) has detected an increased salience of environmental issues - something that has lead to widespread acknowledgment of the legitimacy of a green rhetoric, to the greening of political parties and to the enactment of green policies throughout the western world.

One of the factors associated with the changes described above is that of 'green consumerism'. For Mitsuda (1997), writing about Japan, green consumerism embraces the avoidance by consumers of products which harm the environment and the adoption of practices which reduce household waste. Underpinning these behaviours are strong concerns about the environment. He reports that, in one poll, some 44 per cent of the Japanese public believe global environmental problems threaten their daily lives and some 64 per cent are 'highly concerned' about environmental problems at the community level. Other writers have sought to broaden the term 'green consumerism' by focusing on the 'clean' - often equated with chemical-free - nature of foods. That is, rather than dwelling upon the harm caused to the environment by artificial substances, the focus is upon the non-tainted quality of foodstuffs (basically, that they are free of chemical residues). 'Freshness', 'safety' and 'naturalness' are other issues here. Consumers appear to demand products with these characteristics, as they are associated with healthy eating (Warde 1997).

The purpose of this paper is to provide a preliminary outline of a framework for explaining the ways in which foods are becoming 'green'. We present details of research conducted by Lyons as part of her doctoral studies. This research - with field studies undertaken in New Zealand and Australia during separate periods from 1996 to 1998 - sought to ascertain the motives for grower and processor involvement in organics.

Item ID: 31243
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1037-1656
Keywords: organic produce, environmental sustainability, food production, organic agriculture
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2016 04:24
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments @ 60%
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