Shelf life: post-socialism, food and the politics of sustainable consumption

Jehlicka, Petr and Smith, Joe (2012). Shelf life: post-socialism, food and the politics of sustainable consumption. In: Butcher, Melissa; Clark, Nigel; Smith, Joe and Tyszczuk, Renata eds. Atlas: Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World. London, UK: Black Dog Publishing, pp. 56–63.



Food matters in terms of social, economic and ecological sustainability. Dramatically reducing the impacts linked to how food is grown, distributed and consumed, and how waste is handled, is one of the larger items on the ‘to do’ list of industrialised societies. One of the touchstones in the sustainability literature the assumption that encouraging people to grow and share more of their own food close to where they live can only be a good thing. This is despite the fact that self-provisioning amounts to a tiny percentage of food production in the developed world. One would imagine therefore that finding countries where up to half the population grow a good proportion of their own food would excite a great deal of policy interest. It is a puzzle then to discover that the opposite has happened in the case of the numerous and busy gardeners of Czechia.

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