By Joern Fischer
Many readers of this blog will know that I have been somewhat critical of the “land sparing versus land sharing” framework (as you can see here, here, here and a bit less so here). An underlying reason for this is that the framework appears to be “objective”, but in fact, no science can be entirely objective. (John Vandermeer wrote an excellent blog post on this!) We always shed more light on some things and less on others.
For those wanting to shine the light on some issues not routinely considered in the dominant discourse (which Lang and Barling called the productionist old paradigm), there’s a new paper by Chappell and colleagues that is worth looking at. It’s interesting for two reasons.
First, it’s on food sovereignty, an emerging alternative paradigm. Personally, I’d say this paradigm is not at all value-neutral, but is quite overtly normative. It’s all about the rights of people to choose which foods to grow, what to consume, and how to engage with markets. This lack of “pretend-objectivity” provides an interesting counter-balance to the dominant discourse. I find the analysis by Chappell et al. extremely impressive — I don’t think there are too many intellectuals out there right now who can deliver such a 228-reference blast of argument against the “old paradigm”. So, for content-reasons, this paper is definitely worth checking out.
Second, the paper is in the new journal “F1000 Research” (which I discussed earlier here). I am curious where this journal is going to go, but with papers such as this one going there, I’d say there’s a trend towards more and more “serious” academics publishing (by choice) in this new journal. Other excellent ecologists have already published there, too (e.g. Gary Luck, Kai Chan).