|dc.description.abstract||Global food security became the focus of policy and media attention worldwide following the 2006-2008 food price spikes. In 2013, food security issues in Aotearoa New Zealand relate to access to food, ability to access food, food supply, food distribution and income poverty. I ponder issues of food (in)security and access(ability) to food for vulnerable households and hungry children; and debate the universal benefit to be achieved from various food initiatives. My surveillance of these issues includes consideration of ways people and planet are disadvantaged by, and within, food systems as they are currently determined. Deprivation of secure access to nutritious food, diversely explained, justified and challenged elsewhere in practice and in literature, is a reality for many families in Aotearoa New Zealand. Current remedies, here as elsewhere, seem not to be making a radical impact.
Advocacy for an approach to organisational research filled with words, imagery and rich descriptions by leading contemporary critical theorists Alvesson & Gabriel (2013) emboldens my intention to creatively engage in what I consider to be a meaningful and socially relevant story about championing food for vulnerable households and hungry children in Aotearoa New Zealand. Aspirations to a society with well-fed children, secure family life, and healthy populations are my focus in this research. In a creative engagement I seek to persuade and argue, to address and debate, “to analyse and to make conscious such naturalized ‘common-sense’ patterns of domination” (Schüssler Fiorenza, 2001, p. 102).
Considering the vast array of systems and organisational arrangements that together constitute the production, distribution and consumption of food, I have craft three theoretical conceptualisations to organise my thoughts. They are:
1. those already ‘determined’ notions which follow existing dominant neo-liberal systems, forms, and mind-sets;
2. those ‘improved determined’ ideas considered as alternative approaches to existing ‘determined’ ones but that involve some intention to achieve positive adaptation to a ‘determined’ configuration; and
3. those ‘indeterminate’ perspectives where alternative initiatives or propositions could be considered but outcomes are unknown or yet to be determined.
Through these three conceptualisations, I illuminate the many ways vulnerable individuals and households are disadvantaged through and by current ‘determined’ systems, forms and mind-sets. I argue increasing corporate control over global food production and distribution is evident. I address academic debates around food context and I question the veracity and efficacy of food assistance programs and systems as a remedy for hunger. Specifically in Aotearoa New Zealand I deliberate on the impression being left by the elephants in the paddocks, the giant corporates whose footprints can be followed well beyond the farm gate.
The extent to which any social researcher can contribute to transformative change while unintentionally participating in a system that dominates, marginalises or oppresses is a contemporary challenge for all activists with critical intent. In this thesis I have characterised stories of domination or marginalisation within food systems and given a space for these stories of the positioning of the vulnerable to be told.||