, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 1-10
Date: 26 Jul 2008

Shifting agrifood systems: the contemporary geography of food and agriculture; an introduction

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It is our pleasure in this special issue to introduce something of the recent progress and current state of agrifood studies in geography. At the time of writing agricultural markets around the world are again in upheaval. Steadily increasing demand for feed and fuel-stocks is pushing the prices of cereals and oilseeds to their highest levels in decades. Despite record harvests, shrinking food stocks bring the fear of food shortage to an age very recently characterized by surplus production and dependably cheap (some claim too cheap) food (Economist 2007). The meat industry is in simultaneous expansion and retrenchment: demand for meat is soaring in East Asia and Latin America (Delgado et al. 1999), while one in a series of industry-wide sanitation violations recently forced a leading manufacturer of frozen hamburgers in the US out of business (NY Times 2007, see also NY Times 2008). Meanwhile, with few exceptions, rural places are poor places (IFAD 2001), and calls for resource conser ...