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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the social vision and ideology of the alternative food movement. The movement is based on a vision of American pastoralism, which is accompanied by an ideology of limits and a deep suspicion of scientific and technological progress. It also rests on a vision of heroic Third World peasants, who are depicted as living lives close to nature and to God. The article begins by considering the ideas of Wendell Berry, one of the founders of the movement. It then turns to the views of Indian environmentalist and food activist Vandana Shiva, who is also one of the strongest proponents of the vision of heroic Third World peasants. This is followed by a discussion of the alternative food movement’s environmental vision, which is contrasted with that of two prominent American environmentalists. Finally, the analysis moves on to India, where the underlying ideology shaping the alternative food movement has long found expression in the broader political discourse. The ideas of two prominent Indian thinkers—Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. (Babasaheb) Ambedkar— are presented.

Keywords: alternative food movement, social movements, Wendell Barry, Vandana Shiva, American pastoralism, environmentalism, Third World peasants

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