A helping hand and many green thumbs: local government, citizens and the growth of a community-based food economy

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Minority world consumers are being asked to rethink about their I-ness fixations and the individualism apparent in community food practice. Meanwhile, poor and economically marginalised in the majority world are prioritising civic we-ness and taking collective responsibility for meeting local food needs. In Mindanao in the Philippines, a municipality-wide communal gardening project is feeding malnourished children in schools, supporting poor families in self-provisioning and generating income and employment opportunities for volunteer gardeners. As such, it is benefiting the individual households and the community simultaneously. Of interest is how different actors within this project “successfully” negotiate I-ness and civic we-ness in ways that achieve desired outcomes such as reduced malnutrition. In this paper, I examine the ethical economic decision making of various actors within the Opol Food Project in Mindanao. I reveal how economic decisions are generating social surplus, creating and sustaining commons and building a community-based food economy. I also demonstrate the valuable role that local government can play in enabling and cultivating civic we-ness and in building a different food future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-553
Number of pages15
JournalLocal Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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