Lost in the Supermarket: The Corporate-Organic Foodscape and the Struggle for Food Democracy

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The corporatization of organics has been critiqued for the concentration of ownership, as well as the ecological consequences of the long distances commodities travel between field and table. These critiques suggest a competing vision of food democracy which strives to organize the production and consumption of food at a proximate geographic scale while increasing opportunities for democratically managed cooperation between producers and consumers. This paper examines how the corporate-organic foodscape has interacted and evolved alongside competing counter movements of food democracy. Using discourse and content analysis, we examine how corporate organics incorporate messages of locally scaled food production, humble origins, and a commitment to family farms and employees, and explore some of the complexity of the corporate-organic foodscape. This paper contributes to the understanding of commodity fetishism in the corporate-organic foodscape, and speaks more generally to the need for sophisticated understandings of the complex relationship between social movement innovation and market adaptation.

Keywords: commodity fetishism; corporate foodscape; food democracy; organics; place

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2009.00685.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada;, Email: josee.johnston@utoronto.ca 2: Department of Political Science, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada;, Email: andrew.biro@acadiau.ca 3: Department Sociology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada;, Email: norah.mackendrick@utoronto.ca

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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