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Becoming ‘enchanted’ in agro-food spaces: engaging relational frameworks and photo elicitation with farm tour experiences

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Ecofeminists maintain that seemingly diverse and naturalized socio-ecological issues are in fact rooted within a particular cultural framework that perpetuates inequality and severs relationships among human and more-than-human communities. This important yet perhaps abstract understanding can be made tangible via examination of the ‘conventional’ food system, in which human and more-than-human communities are simultaneously otherized, marginalized, and exploited, realities largely hidden in a global industrial food system that disconnects production from consumption and obscures embedded relationships. Yet as consumer awareness rises, more people wish to know and move closer to the sources of their food, fueling community-based agro-food alternatives. When endowed with an ethic of care, such alternatives can be transformative for individuals and communities across scales.

This article situates conventional and alternative agro-food systems within relational frameworks of ecofeminism and care ethics and uses participant-driven photo elicitation (PDPE) to engage with experiences of consumers participating in a community farm tour. Findings suggest that such ‘enchanting’ experiences can begin to (re)embed food ‘products’ within contexts of place, people, and process, contributing to a relational consciousness that is central to an ethic of care. Findings also illustrate that PDPE can serve as a valuable window into experiences of reconnection, particularly useful for feminist researchers interested in learning more about enchantment and the transformational potential it holds.
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Keywords: Agro-food systems; care ethics; ecofeminism; enchantment; farm tourism; participant driven photo elicitation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, USA

Publication date: November 2, 2018

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