What is it about?

UK Food Policy 2002-2015 aimed to create sustainable farming. Our research focuses on the vegetable sector in England and suggests that the success of the policy was hampered by un-examined ideas about the nature of economic activity that did not reflect the complexities of the networked reality that growers experienced.

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Why is it important?

It's hard for governments to create the ideal conditions for food and farming to flourish. Interventions to help revitalise a sector like vegetable production and encourage more sustainable practices will be more effective if simplistic ideas of how markets work are contested and challenged.


Surely there can't be anything more unexciting than vegetable production! Yet ensuring a plentiful supply of veg is central to more sustainable food and farming. I was inspired by meeting growers - on large scale farms and small holdings, using organic and conventional methods, to talk about the commercial and environmental challenges they encountered. Policy makers were trying hard to help - but often the interventions did not work quite as effectively as envisaged. Our research suggests some taken for granted ideas about how markets work did not explain well what was happening and what could be done. Quite simply the thinking was getting in the way! A better understanding of the networks and interactions in this sector will help policy makers and the growers themselves create successful grower businesses. Because we need vegetable growers to be successful for sustainable development to become a reality.

Janice Moorhouse
University of Roehampton

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Controversy and doxa: sustainable food policy and the English vegetable sector?, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, January 2021, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/jbim-01-2020-0053.
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