The 'Hungry Gap’: Twitter, local press reporting and urban agriculture activism

Reed, Matt ORCID: 0000-0003-1105-9625 and Keech, Daniel ORCID: 0000-0003-4112-9030 (2017) The 'Hungry Gap’: Twitter, local press reporting and urban agriculture activism. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 33 (S6). pp. 558-568. doi:10.1017/S1742170517000448

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This paper is concerned with the development of urban agriculture in some European cities as an example of the widening scope of democratic participation. In our case of Bristol (UK), citizen-led food production initiatives have proved to be challenging to the existing forms of urban governance surrounding land use. Despite policies and rhetoric supportive of urban agriculture, conflicts have arisen over resource use, preservation of soils, use of brownfield sites and control of open spaces in the city. These tensions surround not only economic development priorities but also competing demands from ‘green infrastructure’. Accounts of the role of citizenship as expressed through the internet and interlinked civic activities have placed the control of shared resources in the city into the debate. Using the example of Bristol, the European Green Capital in 2015, this paper draws on data from (i) case study interviews within the city, (ii) an analysis of shared social media networks, and (iii) news media reports. An examination reveals the trajectory of local food projects and how they illuminate the discussions about the future of urban space and food production. The internet, already well understood as a form of commons, is being used to bring into question the status of other shared resources, so testing the limits of the city’s administration and broader conceptions of participation about urban living. We contend that Bristol’s food networks are creating iconic, utopic places across the city to signal and develop new values around food and dining, in contrast to the instrumental values that dominate the food system. To date, urban food movement scholarship has focused on values, while our data shows that grassroots networks are having a limited impact on the agendas of public institutions in the city.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban agriculture activism; Media
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Matthew Reed
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 14:02
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2022 10:16

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