“Trust us, we feed this to our kids”: women and public trust in the Canadian agri-food system

  • Jennifer BraunEmail author
  • Mary Beckie
  • Ken Caine


Public (dis)trust of conventionally produced food is now a pivotal issue for the Canadian food supply chain as consumers are increasingly demanding traceability, transparency and sustainability of the agri-food system. To ensure that Canadians understand what farmers do, how they do it, and why—there has been significant human and financial investment by both the agri-food industry and government over the last decade. Farmers, civil servants, and non-farming agricultural professionals alike are being encouraged to join the national conversation promoting the legitimacy of conventional agriculture. As part of this large-scale effort, women in agriculture (both on and off farm) are advocating, in gendered ways, for the safety and legitimacy of the agri-food system and its conventional farming practices. This is being done by utilizing their motherhood capital. This motherhood capital legitimizes the authority granted to mothers as expert decisionmakers regarding their children’s food consumption. Through the usage of their motherhood capital, women are being positioned—and are positioning themselves—as an important voice in re-narrating the story of conventional agriculture through the circulation of their maternal foodwork experiences. Using their authority as mothers (and feeders or caretakers of families) they are advocating for the safety, necessity, and trustworthiness of conventional agriculture to counter narratives of mistrust and risk.


Women in agriculture Canadian prairies Gender and agriculture Motherhood capital Public trust 



Funding was provided by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyThe King’s UniversityEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of ExtensionUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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