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Bringing terroir back to the roots?

Abstract : Purpose - In line with various scientific papers warning against an inconsistent use of this adjective for food qualification, the purpose of this paper is to point out the sweeping assertion that "local" equates to "ecological". Design/methodology/approach - Looking beyond the measurement of carbon emissions to assess impacts on the environment, this paper addresses ecological issues in terms of interactions with the environment. To this end, it enhances an under-the-skin approach that goes through "local" fruit and vegetables to look into seed management and plant breeding practices. Findings - This method, tested with 2 vegetative species - apple and potato - on 12 case studies in Europe, allows to build a typology that discriminates between: producing food without reproducing plants, grafting trees and storing tubers for maintaining landraces, and sowing seeds to restart the breeding process from the early beginning, trying in this way to enhance the capacity of plants to better fit with their environment. The typology matches a gradient that describes various degrees of intensity of environment-society relationships, from disconnection to adaptation - conceived on the one hand as already stabilized and on the other hand as still evolving. Research limitations/implications - This analytical framework sheds light on contradictions that many local food networks have to face while yearning for a recognition by a geographical indication. Originality/value - The paper argues that vegetal material might be a fruitful research object for tracking the controversies that unfold along the construction of local food products. It discusses social constructivist approaches of terroir while advocating for a materialist approach.
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Contributor : Christopher Lallemant <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 14, 2020 - 5:02:17 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 3:28:04 AM




Lucile Garçon. Bringing terroir back to the roots?. British Food Journal, Emerald, 2019, 121 (12), pp.3089-3101. ⟨10.1108/BFJ-04-2019-0243⟩. ⟨hal-02938120⟩



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