This book is the first comprehensive critical analysis of the cultural politics of a new kind of British heritage discourse.
Based on texts ranging from tweets to restaurant menus that tell the story of heritage vegetables, this book explores what it means to think about our food systems, and their future, through the lens of ‘heritage’. From town hall seed swaps to restaurant menus and coffee table books, it has become hard in recent years for consumers to avoid the idea of ‘heritage’ fruit and vegetables. The British counterpart of North American heirlooms, their varied colours, strange shapes and endearing names are charming. Yet their proponents claim far more for them, arguing it is vital that we safeguard our crop heritage for global food security, social justice and consumer choice. This book examines how heritage fruits and vegetables are adopted to subvert corporate food production and take food back into our own hands, while supermarkets are eagerly adding them to their luxury ranges. The book also discusses the practice of heritage seeds being stored in secure facilities where most of the world’s growers cannot reach them.
Written in an accessible style, this book will appeal to those studying, and those interested in, food studies and food politics; heritage studies; geography and environmental studies; the sociology of consumption and cultural studies.
Table of Contents
1. What are heritage vegetables and why do they matter? 2. Making heritage value out of loss 3. Treasure in the vault: Expert institutions as guardians of heritage 4. Networks and constellations: Activist guardianship 5. Digging in and food heroes: Consumer guardianship 6. Conclusion: Thinking through heritage
Abigail Wincott is Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication at Falmouth University. She researches the relationship between heritage and the media.