The reinvention of food is also a matter of re-localization. This means rethinking food chains in terms of their spatiality. This article deals with milk and cheese and their reinvention in Italy through two distinct, even opposing, strategies: automatization and face-to-face involvement of critical consumers with producers. Each of these strategies associates trust with different spatial arrangements. In the case of raw milk automated distributors (locally named the equivalent of “milk ATMs”), trust is associated with the short distance to the raw milk producer, with whom, however, there is no direct interaction. In the case of food activist circles, notably Italy’s Solidarity Purchase Groups or GAS, trust lies in actual interaction with the producer. This acquires a specific meaning in a culture that assigns added social significance to the act of food provisioning and cultivates plural practices of social interactions that are mediated through food.
Re-localizing Milk and Cheese
Cristina Grasseni is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Utrecht University. Her work focuses on the reinvention of food from several points of view: food activism (Beyond Alternative Food Networks: Italy’s Solidarity Purchase Groups, Bloomsbury, 2013), geographical indications (The Reinvention of Cheese, Berghahn, forthcoming), and traditional dairy farming in northern Italy (Developing Skill, Developing Vision: Practices of Locality at the Foot of the Alps, Berghahn, 2009).
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Cristina Grasseni; Re-localizing Milk and Cheese. Gastronomica 1 November 2014; 14 (4): 34–43. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2014.14.4.34
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