Participatory Guarantee Systems: Alternative Ways of Knowing in Agri-Food Systems?

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: Booth 61
Oral Presentation
Allison LOCONTO , UR 1326 Sciences en Société, INRA, Champs-sur-Marne, France
Maki HATANAKA , Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX
Over the past twenty years, sustainability standards have been used in agri-food systems as a way to link sustainably produced products with consumers who are looking for these types of products. This system of certification has generally relied upon the third-party certification (TPC) model as a way to ensure that producers are complying with standards. Over the past five to ten years, critiques of this model have emerged in both practitioner and academic circles. These critiques focus on the appropriateness of this model based on the type of knowledge that is privileged, the cost of the model and conflicts of interest. This paper examines these critiques by exploring how participatory guarantee systems (PGS) are used to accommodate some of the critiques of the TPC model. We draw upon examples from Japan and Bolivia to illustrate how PGS are rethinking some of these concerns. Through our analysis we explore new institutional arrangements and where there might be spaces for empowering alternative ways of knowing.