Farming for food? : local ways to enhance global food supply - and beyond : an ethnographic case study from a biodynamic community-supported farm in El Bolsón, Argentina

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUCSUS

Abstract: A growing world population confronts humanity and the planet with several challenges due to its increased demand for food, space and energy, implying changes in land use. While agriculture currently provides enough food, it is destroying biodiversity and hence aggravates the planet ́s vulnerability to climate change. A paradigm shift might therefore be needed. Applying a political ecology lens, complemented with thoughts of the concept of deep democracy, the purpose of this research was to explore the potential of alternative forms of agriculture in guaranteeing local food supply and preserving the environment. Furthermore, the role of a farm community for a transformation to a more sustainable paradigm at and beyond the local level was explored. Inspired by action research and Social and Cultural Anthropology, an ethnographic case study, combining participant observation with interviews at a biodynamic community-supported farm in El Bolsón, Argentina was conducted. The investigation reveals that this farm significantly contributes to the community ́s local food supply while treating the environment respectfully. Furthermore, this research highlights that the farm delivers food for thought, while strengthening social faculties. Moreover, in the case of this Argentinian farm a belief in bottom-up grass-root movements was detected to overcome the dominant capitalistic paradigm. However, literature underlines the importance of the political level. This thesis therefore suggests that community-supported farms, such as the one studied here, can be seen as spaces of empowerment and potential generators of a paradigm shift – provided that a vision of change rather than a market orientation is their foundation and an agrarian citizenship is practiced.

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