Notes from the ESRS conference (2)

At the bi-annual conference for rural sociologists in Europe  at this moment going on at Crete, we organised a working group to compare food and farming strategies in the rural and the urban. We discovered confusing (see blog 1) and potentially clarifying concepts while listening to the many interesting presentations. As an example of sustainable rural development Ignacio Lopez Moreno presented the concept of co-production as ” the ongoing interaction and mutual change of human and living nature”  (after van der Ploeg 2008) while explaining the case of quality production under the Waddengoud label in the north of the Netherlands. This definition fitted the presentation of Esther Veen and myself too who saw the urban residents in urban agriculture initiatives as co-producers in the sense of this definition.

Although co-production and co-producership also have contested meanings in the academic debate these terms are potentially bridging rural and urban studies on the way people grow food as alternative to buying in regular retail outlets of the agro-industrial complex. Both rural dweller and urban residents interact with and change nature while becoming active in growing food.  Food provisioning strategies that involve co-production open the dichotomy between producer and consumer and perspectives which start (implicitly) from one or the other side.