About this Research Topic
Food has been at the centre of international concerns in view of population growth, environmental degradation, and the increasingly visible effects of climate change. In a globalized world, however, it is the immediate demand of well-appointed urban societies in high income countries who determines to a large degree what is produced in the fields and farms of the global South. Their preferences and desires, in turn, drive land use dynamics and societal reconfiguration processes with distinct social, environmental and economic implications.
In particular, there is agreement that a massive increase of meat consumption in prospering economies is having and will continue to have disastrous effects in the rural tropics, including deforestation, environmental contamination, as well as the marginalization of the rural poor. In contrast, emerging alternative food trends and fashions for healthy, fairly, or wildlife-friendly food (bio, superfood, fair trade, bird-friendly etc.) may push dynamics into a different direction. As this trend stands in sharp contrast to the prevailing “meat path”, one may expect that the related effects on the environment and people in the production countries are largely positive- though with trade-offs in some instances. However, in contrast to agro-industrial systems for the production of agricultural commodities, there is a lack of information on the specific effects of alternative food trends on people and ecosystems in the rural tropics, and options for influence.
Against this backdrop, the collection of articles presented under this topic, will critically analyse the emergence and dynamics of alternative food trends, the related effects on environment and people in the producer countries, and options for influence. By doing so, it will aid understanding of whether and under what conditions alternative food trends may have the potential to halter the dynamic of environmental degradation and social marginalization in the rural tropics, so to contribute to a more sustainable world.
Keywords: Fashion Food, Land Use Dynamics, Rural Tropics, Small Farmers, Sustainable Development, Markets, Rural Policies
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