DOI link for Beyond edibility
Beyond edibility book
This chapter interrogates Val Plumwood’s claims that ontological veganism is imperialist towards Indigenous peoples and alienates us from the natural world. We resist such claims by showing that ontology is inherently political, and in settler contexts our dominant food ontologies are often the outcome of colonial power that shape beliefs and practices towards territory, animals, and, ultimately, food. Despite ontology being historically contingent and contextual, we argue that it is still ethically and politically useful to ontologize food. This is because the sedimentation of our political ontologies into identities facilitates ethical and political practices. Building on Plumwood’s writings, we propose a food ontology in which animals do not exist as always already food, but as equal subjects with their own interests who happen (like humans) to be edible. Such an approach, we argue, far from being imperialist, lends itself to a nonspeciesist ontology of food that disrupts colonial power and undermines the settler colonial logics.