The recent rises in food prices represent the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and a ‘canary in the mine’ moment for world agriculture. They are underlain by a continuing race to the bottom and by speculative processes whereby systems of resource production and exploitation are continuing to rely upon ‘infinite supply’ assumptions and narrow technological solutions to world hunger. It is argued here that these conditions are leading to a dominant and aggregated policy framing that tends to marginalize diverse and place-based agro-ecological systems, through the creation of a renewed legitimacy for bio-economic, rather than eco-economic, solutions. Nevertheless, the current food crisis is also providing opportunities for more place-based and reflexive governance arrangements. This article outlines the relationships between these bio-economic, and alternative eco-economic, strategies and focuses on some of the key articulation mechanisms between the two paradigms. Of key importance here is understanding the reconstitution of space and state processes in these contested but innovative articulations.
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