Sharing knowledge

These days I am mostly working on turning my PhD research into publications. The research explored the construction, use and diffusion of skills and ideas among producers and consumers of organic food. I spent time participating and talking to people on organic farms, at events and during market days. I looked at publications, books and websites produced by members of the organic food movement. And of course, I took some photographs that served as data along with interview transcripts and observation notes. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to publish those images in the journals I have chosen to submit the articles to, so let’s have a quick look at some of them before they go into storage and leave my pc forever.

The first two images illustrate practices for teaching and sharing ideas, skills and information about the production and consumption of organic food. I argue in the thesis that these practices differ from those in the conventional food system, which is characterised by a lack of dialogue:

Caption: Patterson (2006) argues that, in commercial retail outlets, the combined processes of industrialisation and new trends in architecture combine to encourage an individual shopping experience based on looking. Here, however, an abundance of different varieties of vegetables and an open spatial layout encourage consumers to communicate with one another and with the stallholder.

On the other hand, some members of the organic food movement are more knowledgeable than others, and knowledge transmission can temporarily become a one-way phenomenon:

Caption: At a farmwalk, the host dons a bright yellow safety vest and guides visitors around his land. Arriving at a shed he climbs onto a bale of hay, temporarily elevating himself to the status of expert, addressing his audience from above and pointing out various features of the building. In the foreground can be seen a piece of equipment for sowing grass seeds developed by the farmer himself.

For more information on this project, or for copies of the relevant thesis chapters, leave a comment here or send me a mail.
Ref: Patterson, M (2006) Consumption and Everyday Life. London: Routledge


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