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The logics of surplus food redistribution

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jane Midgley


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This paper considers surplus food redistribution as a component of sustainable regional food systems. Concepts of social surplus, caring, and otherness are used to explore surplus food and the various rationalizations or logics of redistribution practices that aim to improve the food security of non-buying food consumers, informed by interviews with third sector actors in north east England. Problematizing surplus food reveals it as a continuation of food chain practices. The neoliberal logics that have generated problems of food access and waste – upon which surplus food redistribution is often premised – are also inherent in redistribution practices, impacting on how food is redistributed and who receives what. These logics can perpetuate exclusion, as market qualities remain attached to the goods and their consumption. The paper suggests that economic pressures are overpowering caring logics. Greater critical attention must be given to the role of surplus appropriation and redistribution in sustainable regional food systems.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Midgley JL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management

Year: 2014

Volume: 57

Issue: 12

Pages: 1872-1892

Print publication date: 01/12/2014

Online publication date: 18/10/2013

Acceptance date: 20/09/2013

ISSN (print): 0964-0568

ISSN (electronic): 1360-0559

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2013.848192


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