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Digital from farm to fork: Infrastructures of quality and control in food supply chains

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew Donaldson


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© 2021 Elsevier LtdThis paper considers the digitalisation of food infrastructure as a wider context within which smart farming and big data applications in agriculture are being introduced. It examines the use of digital devices aimed providing traceability and transparency across different sites of food supply chains, from farm to fork. The infrastructural perspective problematises ideas of digitalisation as a technological fix to the uncertainness of food supply chains, and highlights the relational nature of food. Digital devices aimed at ensuring food integrity and the control of supply chains are shown to reconstitute infrastructures of qualification by which the qualities of foodstuffs are established as they move through the processes of the supply chain, from production to consumption. The paper identifies question of power around the ongoing process of infrastructuring that generate a requirement for more labour by some actors; the possibility of new politics and relationships built around increased circulation of quality information; and questions of who controls access to information that are obscured by different understandings of transparency.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Donaldson DA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Rural Studies

Year: 2022

Volume: 91

Pages: 228-235

Print publication date: 01/04/2022

Online publication date: 24/10/2021

Acceptance date: 06/10/2021

ISSN (print): 0743-0167

ISSN (electronic): 1873-1392

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.10.004


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