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A quiet revolution? Beneath the surface of Ireland's alternative food initiatives

Aisling Murtagh


Getting food to our plates has become a highly complex, industrialised and globalised process. However, transformations in how our food is supplied are not without resistance. Initiatives are emerging that take a step back to simpler, alternative methods of food supply, bringing the producer and consumer closer together. Alternative food initiatives which are commonly found in Ireland include allotments, community gardens, farmers’ markets, farm shops and on-farm food enterprises. Understanding alternative food activities as a social movement can illuminate a fresh perspective on their nature and potential. While briefly considering the broad dynamics of alternative food activity in Ireland, this exploratory paper looks at the question of the nature of resistance and whether a collective vision may exist across initiatives, illustrated by two examples, a community garden and consumer food co-op. Finally some conclusions as to how alternative food initiatives may play a transformative role within the contemporary food system are discussed.

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