Within the many realms that food entangles, the issue of scale plays a critical role. Our food systems encompass the very large and the very intimate, from networks of global markets, trade routes, and national cuisines, to fridges, fermenting crocks, stomachs, and stamens. All of these are connected, parts of an ecology of ecologies, and elements of each bring influences upon the others. Yet when scale is overlooked in our writing, teaching, and research, food issues tend to become siloed, problematizing the outcomes and understandings we produce. Depending on the scaling of time and space that we take, implications of and for “sustainability,” “health,” “culture,” and “justice” become very different.

Pull back on a foodscape or research context, and suddenly we see the ways in which food matter and symbolic meaning are co-produced. From a high-level view, a holistic portrait emerges. The myriad connections and relationships among food actors manifest...

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