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Position paper

Growing what matters: The urgency of seeding degrowth within contested transformations of UK food systems

Matthew Gibson

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Position paper

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Degrowth Journal


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Crisis, contest and power. Three interacting elements engulf food systems everywhere, including the UK. And in this turmoil, those who dominate the present are shaping the future. Degrowth must not only offer, and make common cause with, compelling counter-narratives, but actively seek to manifest change. And here, the seed of degrowth may well germinate, but will struggle to flourish unless existing power dynamics are fundamentally addressed. In the words of Pirgmaier and Steinberger (2019), it must ‘confront power’, ‘prioritise what matters’ and ‘act’. Here, a short perspective is offered, in humble complement to recent research activity on degrowth and food systems (Bodirsky et al., 2022). It gives a brief high-level critique of the UK’s food system efforts, by way of the National Food Strategy (NFS) report and argues for the urgency of degrowth to insert itself into the debate, or risk missing a clear opportunity to catalyse wider transformational social change. 

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