Alternative food networks (AFNs) are exemplified by organic, Fair Trade and local foods, and promote forms of food provisioning that are ‘corrective’ to conventional agriculture and food (agrifood) systems. Despite enthusiasm for AFNs, scholars have increasingly interrogated whether inequalities are perpetuated by AFN’s. Reproductions of gender inequality in AFNs, particularly at the level of consumption, has often been left empirically unexamined, however. This is problematic given that women continue to be predominately responsible for food provisioning in the U.S., and that this responsibility can lead to negative physical, psychological and social outcomes. Using quantitative methods and data from the 2012 Ohio Survey of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Issues, this paper examines the extent to which gender inequality in the division of labor is reproduced in AFNs by focusing on the potential persistence of gender inequality in food provisioning among AFN participants. Finding suggest that among AFN participants, particularly those utilizing local food systems, women, compared to men, remain predominately responsible for food provisioning, spend more time in food provisioning, and engage in more food provisioning from scratch. This research confirms that food provisioning remains a gendered act amongst AFN participants, calling attention to the persistence of gender inequality in AFNs. The paper concludes by suggesting that AFN’s are positioned as a place to create change, albeit small scale, in the gendered division of household labor in the U.S., and provides some practical suggestions for how this might occur.
This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Agriculture and Human Values, published by Springer. Copyright restrictions may apply. The final publication is available at doi: 10.1007/s10460-014-9562-y
Som Castellano, Rebecca L.. (2015). "Alternative Food Networks and Food Provisioning as a Gendered Act". Agriculture and Human Values, 32(3), 461-474.