Ecovillage foodscapes: zooming in and out of sustainable food practices

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Springer Nature
This article uses foodscapes as a lens to explore the potential of ecovillages’ food practices towards enhancing sustainable food systems. Ecovillages are collective projects where members attempt to integrate sustainability principles into daily community life. In these communities, food acts, not only as an element of social life, but also as a venue through which to interact with mainstream food systems and society. Yet, how food practices at ecovillages contribute to sustainable food systems remains vague. This article proposes foodscapes, as a lens, for exploring the sustainability potential of place-based food practices in ecovillages, while also directing attention to how these practices intersect with networks at broader social and spatial scales. It asks, how can we better understand and draw from sustainable food practices, when considering these as both, place-based and relational? And what is the potential and the role of ecovillage communities to contribute to broader sustainable food system change? Drawing on ethnographic and food mapping methods, the article explores selected food practices at three ecovillage communities in the United States. Using social practice theory for “zooming in” on place-based practices and “zooming out” to examine relational networks, we investigate how these communities create internally sustainable food systems, while externally bridging themselves with broader urban and rural communities. Through viewing ecovillage food practices as place-based and relational, we develop a broader and spatially-focused understanding of food system sustainability.
© The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agriculture and Human Values, 2021, available online at: . Keywords: foodscapes; ecovillages; sustainable food systems; social practice theory; intentional communities.
Ulug, C., Trell, EM. & Horlings, L. Ecovillage foodscapes: zooming in and out of sustainable food practices. Agric Hum Values 38, 1041–1059 (2021).