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Consumption Patterns in the Sustainable Food Movement: A Qualitative Study of ‘Sustainers’

Sun, August 11, 12:30 to 2:10pm, Sheraton New York, Floor: Lower Level, Flatiron

Abstract

Through semi-structured interviews with 53 subjects, I uncover how participants in the sustainable food movement think about what they are doing, why it matters, and what efficacy looks like. This includes farmers, chefs, nutritionists, business owners, physicians, clergy, activists, non-profit managers, and lay people, all of whom are consumers, all of whom contribute in one way or another to this movement, and most of whom think of themselves as active members of the movement. I describe five patterns in their responses that characterize key trends in the sustainable food movement as a whole. I then briefly offer a speculative explanation of why this movement has emerged. Finally, I make a case that the evolving sustainable food movement represents genuine progress towards a “new politics of consumption,” as outlined by Juliet B. Schor.

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