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Open AccessArticle

Local Notions of Alternative Practices: Organic Food Movements in Bangkok, Thailand and Chennai, India

Department of Geography, Kiel University, Ludewig-Meyn-Str. 14, 24098 Kiel, Germany
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1952; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051952
Received: 27 January 2020 / Revised: 22 February 2020 / Accepted: 27 February 2020 / Published: 4 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Diversity)
I argue that the common discourses on alternative practices often entail a Western perspective and are sometimes treated as new paths of thinking. This also applies to alternative food practices such as organic farming. Based on empirical research on organic food movements in Bangkok and Chennai, I suggest two examples of alternative practices that have become naturally incorporated in daily routines. Through qualitative expert interviews, long-term observation, and action research, the study reveals that in these movements, urbanites advocate for the right to healthy foods and solidarity with rural farmers, and that farmers employ local sustainable farming methods, including careful resource management and agricultural diversity. Stakeholder engagement is long-term and embraces a spiritual-cultural tone of alternativeness. Based on my findings from my case studies, I propose the following two recommendations. First, the alternative practice discourse needs to open up to the existing plurality of perspectives—openness may prevent the alternative practice discourse from overlooking notable sources of inspiration from societies that inherently perform a diversity of sustainable agricultural practices. Second, continuity, local sustainability notions, and mindfulness need to be included as criteria in the debate. The incorporation of these three themes represented by my two case studies may enrich the discourse through a more local, Global South perspective on alternativeness, and advance its conceptualization. View Full-Text
Keywords: alternative practices discourse; local sustainability notions; organic food movements; agricultural diversity; Global South perspective; Bangkok; Chennai alternative practices discourse; local sustainability notions; organic food movements; agricultural diversity; Global South perspective; Bangkok; Chennai
MDPI and ACS Style

Bopp, J. Local Notions of Alternative Practices: Organic Food Movements in Bangkok, Thailand and Chennai, India. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1952.

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