Food Geographies

What is the future of food in light of growing threats from the climate emergency and natural resource depletion, as well as economic and social inequality? The complex relationships between people, place and food is a fundamental issue that has never been so prevalent, or so crucial. From eBooks written by key scholars to exclusive teaching and learning tools, this carefully curated topic collection brings together the wealth of material available through Bloomsbury Food Library, and provides a gateway into the topic of Food Geographies and the powerful role that food plays in our everyday lives.

Four farmers in a field in Vietnam (Pixabay)

The Geographies of Food: An Introduction

With over 60 colour images and a range of lively pedagogical features, The Geographies of Food (2021) explores contemporary food issues and crises in all their dimensions, as well as the many solutions currently being proposed. Drawing on global case studies it analyses the complex relationships operating between people and processes at a range of geographical scales, from the shopping decisions of consumers, to food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the strategies of giant American and European agri-businesses whose activities span several continents. This chapter concentrates on the impacts of food crises in those regions which are most vulnerable to food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition.

A hand holding rice grain (Pixabay)

Build Your Course with an Exclusive Lesson Plan

The study of food in all its dimensions offers insights into a wide range of pressing questions in human geography and related disciplines. Food occupies everyone to some extent, connecting people to plantation economies and histories, regulations and markets, commodity cultures and ethical consumption, and understandings and experiences of risk, scarcity, and abundance. This exclusive lesson plan by Marisa Wilson provides advanced undergraduate students with historical, political economic, and cultural understandings of food production, exchange/distribution, and consumption, and seeks to enhance specialist knowledge of agri-food geographies, including a range of processes related to food and its globalisation, past and present.

A food stall selling fruit with people gathered around it (Pixabay)

Ethnographies of a Changing Global Foodscape

In Food Between the Country and the City: Ethnographies of a Changing Global Foodscape (2013), leading scholars in the study of food offer ethnographic studies of peasant homesteads, family farms, community gardens, state food industries, transnational supermarkets, planning offices, tourist boards, and government ministries in locales across the globe, building upon the foundation of Raymond Williams' classic work, The Country and the City (1973). In this chapter Johan Pottier looks at how Lilongwe’s migrant poor stay food secure, and recommends that the city, not the countryside, has a part to play to ease the problem of urban food insecurity.

Agriculture using chemical crop equipment (Pixabay)

Concentration and Power in the Food System

Concentration and Power in the Food System (2021) by Philip H. Howard reveals how dominant corporations, from the supermarket to the seed industry, exert control over contemporary food systems. This revised edition has been updated to reflect recent developments in the food system, as well as the broad political economic forces that shape them. It also examines the rapidly changing technologies which have the potential to reinforce, as well as to challenge, the power of the largest firms. This chapter analyzes the impacts of the evolution of organic standards throughout key segments of the food system, including distribution, processing, production, and agricultural inputs.

Rice Field (Pixabay)

Food and Globalization

Food has a special significance in the expanding field of global history. Food markets were the first to become globally integrated, linking distant cultures of the world, and in no other area have the interactions between global exchange and local cultural practices been as pronounced as in changing food cultures. Food and Globalization: Consumption, Markets and Politics in the Modern World (2008) provides a historical overview of the relationship between food and globalization in the modern world, offering a fresh perspective on both global history and food studies. This chapter looks at the commercial rice cultivation and the regional economy of Southeastern Asia from 1850–1950.

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Cover of Global Brooklyn: Designing Food Experiences in World Cities (2021)

Author in Focus - Fabio Parasecoli

Fabio Parasecoli is a well-known voice in the field of food studies, and is a Director of the Food Studies PhD Program at New York University. His research explores the intersections among food, media, and politics, in particular in the fields of food heritage and intellectual property. A member of the Bloomsbury Food Library’s own Editorial Advisory Board, Parasecoli has written or edited extensively in the field of food studies. Click here to discover the works by Fabio Parasecoli , which are made digitally available through the Bloomsbury Food Library.

Parasecoli's acclaimed Bite Me (2008) considers the ways in which popular culture reveals our relationship with food and our own bodies and how these have become an arena for political and ideological battles. Drawing on an extraordinary range of material – films, books, comics, songs, music videos, websites, slang, performances, advertising and mass-produced objects – Bite Me invites the reader to take a fresh look at today’s products and practices to see how much food shapes our lives, perceptions and identities.

Parasecoli is the editor of a number of titles, such as Global Brooklyn: Designing Food Experiences in World Cities (2021). Co-edited with Mateusz Halawa, it brings together a collection of essays that explore ‘Global Brooklyn’ a new transnational aesthetic regime of urban consumption, shaped by many networked locations where consumers participate in the global circulation of styles, flavors, practices, and values. This book follows this phenomenon across different world cities, arguing for a stronger appreciation of design and materialities in understanding food cultures. Attentive to local contexts, struggles, and identities, contributors explore the global mobility of aesthetic, ethical, and entrepreneurial projects, and how they materialize in everyday practices on the ground.