The industrial agrifood system is in crisis regarding its negative ecological, economic, and social externalities: it is unsustainable on all dimensions. This book documents and engages competing visions and contested discourses of agrifood sustainability. 

Using an incremental/reformist to transformation/radical continuum framework for alternative agrifood movements, this book identifies tensions between competing discourses that stress food sovereignty, social justice, and fair trade and those that emphasize food security, efficiency and free trade. In particular, it highlights the role that governance processes play in sustainability transitions and the ways that power and politics affect sustainability visions and discourses.  

The book includes chapters that review sustainability discourses at the macro and meso levels, as well as case studies from Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe, South America and the USA.

part 1I|16 pages


part II|70 pages

Framing the contested discourse

chapter 2|23 pages

Sustainable intensification

Agroecological appropriation or contestation?

chapter 4|16 pages

Agrifood discourses and feeding the world

Unpacking sustainable intensification

chapter 5|12 pages

Sustainability as the civil commons

Laying the groundwork for sustainable agriculture

part III|114 pages

Contested discourse in theory and practice

chapter 6|22 pages

Zero Hunger discourse

Neoliberal, progressive, reformist or radical?

chapter 7|16 pages

Greenwashing the animal-industrial complex

Sustainable intensification and the Livestock Revolution

chapter 8|19 pages

Are food quality schemes an alternative to the conventional food system?

Reflections on the EU metaphors on agrifood quality regulation

chapter 9|17 pages

Discourses on sustainability in the French farming sector

The redefinition of a consensual and knowledge-intensive ‘agroecology’

chapter 10|25 pages

Duelling discourses of sustainability

Neo-conventional and organic farming on the Canadian Prairies

chapter 11|13 pages

Contested sustainability discourses as lived experience

Conflicted feelings towards meat in consumers’ narratives and life stories

part IV|76 pages

Contested agrifood governance

chapter 12|21 pages

Shifting visions of sustainability in United States agriculture

A case study of the role of multi-stakeholder governance

chapter 13|17 pages

Understanding the challenge of problem definition in multistakeholder initiatives

Lessons from sustainability policy frames in Canadian non-state food strategies

chapter 14|16 pages

Standardizing ‘unused’ land

The politics of indicators in land classification

part V|10 pages


chapter 16|8 pages

Fault lines in agricultural sustainability

Contestation, cooptation, reform, and transformation