A turn to the market : a decade of food policy and its impact on domestic production of fruit and vegetables
This paper examines the turn to the market in food policy since 2002 and its impact on fruit and vegetable growers in England. Its starting point is the publication of what became known as the Curry Report (2002) in January 2002 (its full name was the Report of the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food). It was, in effect, a turn to the market in food policy in which farmers and growers were encouraged to reconnect with their supply chains, become more market-oriented, and to engage in modern marketing practices. There then followed a period of policy development with the publication of a number of policy documents that extended Curry’s original concept of market-oriented reconnection. A critique of the policy of reconnection is presented which highlights the paradox that a market-oriented policy enabled the inclusion and containment of non-market concerns: environmental despoliation and health (although it appears that the importance of concerns beyond narrow economic interests is diminishing under the Coalition government). Using an alternative and radical conceptualisation of reconnection, the analysis also reveals the underlying ideology of a policy presented as a pragmatic response to the problems in farming.