The commoditization of products and taste: Slow Food and the conservation of agrobiodiversity
Slow Food is an Italy-based international organization that aims to save the varieties, breeds, and foods threatened by the standardization and homogenization of agriculture resulting from the widespread use of conventional practices. Through an analysis of one of Slow Food’s projects, a Basque Presidium, this paper examines the effects of Slow Food’s efforts on the products, producers, and agrobiodiversity it is trying to save. Drawing upon Igor Kopytoff’s descriptions of commoditization as process, this paper argues that the products and the values they embody, which Slow Food has identified for their singularity, are commoditized through a variety of mechanisms. This paper then argues that commoditization makes the endeavors of Slow Food resemble the conventional agricultural system it is trying to oppose, as well as undermining the very agrobiodiversity the organization seeks to protect. These effects create a disconnect between the organization’s goals and its actions on-the-ground, indicating that Slow Food is not as alternative as it claims to be. This paper ends by examining Slow Food’s role within the overall agricultural system, and suggests that the organization’s producers are important guardians of the global agrobiodiversity which conventional production erodes. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010
Volume (Year): 27 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
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