Proposal Title

SESSION 1.2: Passionate Interests and Community Decision Making: The Kamloops Food Policy Council since 1995

Presentation Type

Individual paper

Location

IB 1015

Start Date

3-5-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

3-5-2019 10:30 AM

Disciplines

Social and Cultural Anthropology

Abstract

Kamloops, BC is renowned for its community investment in food security – home to Canada’s oldest grassroots food policy council, it also has well-established municipal support for food security programs. Since its formation in 1995, the Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) has collectively made decisions about the initiatives it values, including informal conversations over potlucks, strategic planning and participation in formal community consultation processes. These ongoing processes of deliberation reflect what Bruno Latour describes as the “passionate interests” of actors: intense attachments between members assembled around matters of concern that result in a reconceptualization of “value” as impromptu, mobile, and intransitive. Drawing on ethnographic and archival research conducted with the KFPC since 2017, I situate the network’s decision-making and valuation practices in the broader historical context of agricultural disinvestment in the Kamloops region. As long-term economic and regulatory trends have eroded production and diversity in the sector, the priorities and interests of KFPC have grown more expansive despite the constraints that limit the possibilities of their work. I argue that, as members of the Kamloops food system network assemble around their urgent matters of concern, other “things” function as decision makers alongside them: past and current agricultural infrastructure, consultative planning documents, and indeed, the land itself. Though the network often takes up initiatives that fundamentally don’t compute (in terms of dollars or calories), they erode reliance on dispassionate calculation and render alternative processes of valuation transparent.

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May 3rd, 9:00 AM May 3rd, 10:30 AM

SESSION 1.2: Passionate Interests and Community Decision Making: The Kamloops Food Policy Council since 1995

IB 1015

Kamloops, BC is renowned for its community investment in food security – home to Canada’s oldest grassroots food policy council, it also has well-established municipal support for food security programs. Since its formation in 1995, the Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) has collectively made decisions about the initiatives it values, including informal conversations over potlucks, strategic planning and participation in formal community consultation processes. These ongoing processes of deliberation reflect what Bruno Latour describes as the “passionate interests” of actors: intense attachments between members assembled around matters of concern that result in a reconceptualization of “value” as impromptu, mobile, and intransitive. Drawing on ethnographic and archival research conducted with the KFPC since 2017, I situate the network’s decision-making and valuation practices in the broader historical context of agricultural disinvestment in the Kamloops region. As long-term economic and regulatory trends have eroded production and diversity in the sector, the priorities and interests of KFPC have grown more expansive despite the constraints that limit the possibilities of their work. I argue that, as members of the Kamloops food system network assemble around their urgent matters of concern, other “things” function as decision makers alongside them: past and current agricultural infrastructure, consultative planning documents, and indeed, the land itself. Though the network often takes up initiatives that fundamentally don’t compute (in terms of dollars or calories), they erode reliance on dispassionate calculation and render alternative processes of valuation transparent.