Reimagining Craft as Alternate Sustainable Community Pathways: A Community-based Participatory Exploration of Degrowth

  • Author / Creator
    Pacholok, Tanya I.
  • From beekeeping to brewing, Alberta’s craft food sector offers potential provisionary pathways toward degrowth. While many sustainable development policies are fuelled by beliefs in ecological modernisation or green growth, degrowth scholars criticize these approaches as offering empty promises of “sustaining the unsustainable” while failing to question the underlying principles of endless growth causing environmental destruction in the first place (Fournier, 2008; Kallis et al., 2015). Degrowth scholarship is becoming increasingly prominent as a political, economic, and social movement, yet research on examples of real-existing degrowth in lived practice is limited (Brossman & Islar, 2019; Kallis et al., 2022). Craft food may offer sites for real-existing examples of reimagining a sustainable future and social imaginary beyond dominant modernist models of growth, hustle, and consumerist culture. The craft food sector has been emerging as part of a broader alternative, local food movement that seeks to increase food resilience and address the many complex issues of our current globalised agri-food system (IPCC, 2022). Thus, the current study explores how craft food communities in Alberta understand degrowth and what this can reveal about how real-existing degrowth might be lived out in practice. Using an empirical community-based participatory research approach, I conducted a mixed-method study involving semi-structured interviews, a focus group, photovoice, and cellphilm methods (Wang & Burris, 1997). Using thematic content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005), I examined, analysed and organised participants’ responses into themes. In addition to this, I created an online community exhibit (Password: Degrowth) showcasing participants’ photovoice photographs, cellphilms, and quotes. This study’s findings contribute to the notion that degrowth approaches offer not just insights into economics and policy shifts but cultural and ontological shifts (Kallis et al., 2022). In the context of a transitioning “petro-state” province like Alberta becoming so dependent on resource economies, particularly fossil fuels, examining craft food as a site of living degrowth principles offers insightful information on new social imaginaries and approaches to policy in environmental sustainability.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.