Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.692360
Title: Encouraging environmentally sustainable food consumption : limitations, potential and possibilities of community-based consumer co-ops
Author: Bihari, Pranav
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 3200
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
This thesis explores the conditions under which community-based consumer food co-ops can foster pro-environmental food practices. Case study methodology is employed to study five UK food co-ops and identify opportunities and challenges to developing capacities in those co-ops towards: building a shared sense of purpose around environmentally sustainable food consumption; making sustainable food choices accessible and affordable; and, encouraging member participation. Additionally, life history interviews were undertaken with 18 individuals who were already making environmentally friendly food choices to illuminate how community food co-ops can develop strategies to engage their members and promote sustainable food consumption. Building a co-op community with a shared purpose around sustainable food consumption is more likely when there is clarity of focus on the prioritisation of environmental objectives among members and the leadership team; however, high overhead costs may shift the focus to commercial survival. Co-ops can be more price-competitive in the category of fresh produce and unpackaged wholefoods than in packaged and convenience foods. Members' labour can reduce overhead costs, but getting members to participate is a considerable challenge. Democratic structure alone is not enough. Participation was motivated primarily by the need to belong to a community and a commitment to co-ops' perceived values. There was limited evidence at the studied co-ops of systematic efforts to create opportunities for social learning and relationship-building among members towards strengthening volunteering commitment and developing practice-relevant knowledge and skills. Life history accounts of sustainable food practitioners illustrated how factors such as parents and peers, work, education, books and media, living environment, and ethical concerns, worked through key mechanisms of influence, including direct experience, knowledge, social learning, facilitating contexts and personal agency, to shape sustainable food practices over time. Understanding these factors and mechanisms suggests a number of practical strategies for food co-ops to effectively engage their members with environmental objectives. As well as removing structural constraints, effective strategies will be alert to the bi-directional nature of attitude-behaviour relationships and the formative processes that underpin a range of self-transcendent values aligned with environmentally responsible food consumption.
Supervisor: Rootes, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.692360  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology
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