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Type: Thesis
Type of Thesis: Master Thesis
Title: How do we feed the city? Following the asparagus: An ethnographic exploration of urban food provision
Authors: Biermann, Isabella
Issue Date: 29-Apr-2024
Date of Submission: 2020
Keywords: urban food provision; Landwirtschaft; food justice; food systems
Rapid urbanisation, growing populations, expanding social and ecological injustices, undeniable effects of climate change, a global health crisis. We, that is humans and nonhumans, are in trouble! How do we feed the city on a 'broken planet' (Fitz & Krasny 2019)? In midst of a pandemic lockdown, the German government airlifts Romanian harvest workers into Germany to pick white asparagus—a vegetable of national importance. This controversial decision sparks a medial cacophony and raises a vast array of socio-ecological questions in public debates. It is a moment of rupture in the system that suddenly leaks dimensions of injustices of food provision previously blackboxed by political and economic leaders. It is a moment that conveys international dependencies and grievances of food production at our doorstep. It is the moment in which I begin my journey of following the asparagus on an endeavour to scrutinise how we feed the city. By following this vegetable on an ethnographic exploration through Hamburg in this specific time, I unravel and tell stories about and through it, diving deeply into socio-ecological notions of caring with (TRONTO 2019) by using DONNA HARAWAY'S (2016) framework of kinship.
Taking the multispecies approach seriously, I attempt to rethink my position, material and methods from a human and nonhuman perspective; from within. Taking seriously also the interdependence of multispecies for the earth to remain habitable, means to rethink the thoughts that think thoughts. This is a challenge that I aim to tackle through the embodied research process, by making kin with different multispecies. The asparagus leads me to numerous places, players, plates and makes visible much larger global crises: such as the climate crisis and the health crisis, both linked by food. The question 'how do we feed the city?' is thus pursued from a socio-ecological perspective through a multi-sited and multi-method approach, whereby different types of materials are brought into dialogue, giving room for conversation but also for confrontation. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods lays bare just how deeply in trouble we are. It also makes visible that this is just the beginning of a much larger paradigmatic shift that is necessary, if we want to enable livability on earth for generations to come.
Subject Class (DDC): 300: Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie
HCU-Faculty: Urban Design 
Advisor: Wildner, Kathrin 
Referee: Sarlak-Krämer, Gözde 
URN (Citation Link): urn:nbn:de:gbv:1373-repos-12245
Directlink: https://repos.hcu-hamburg.de/handle/hcu/950
Language: German
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