Private Lands, Collective Values? Framing of Food Security in a Norwegian Land Use Conflict

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: Booth 61
Oral Presentation
Heidi VINGE , Centre for Rural Research, Trondheim, Norway
Katrina RØNNINGEN , Centre for Rural Research, Centre for Rural Research, Trondheim, Norway
The principle of food security is in recent agricultural policy documents in Norway being used to re-legitimize increasingly neoproductivist farming policies and systems. Thus conservation of agricultural land is once again prominently positioned on the political agenda. With only very limited availability of farmland, only 3% of Norway’s land area is in productive agricultural use, the issues of agricultural land conservation and food security have become more or less inseparable in Norway. Further, Norway, as a non-EU member, has insisted internationally on maintaining a very protectionist agricultural policy to meet the objective of being 50% self-sufficient in calories produced from agriculture.

A large proportion of the best quality farmland is within the vicinity of the country’s major urban areas. While Norway was urbanised relatively lately by European standards, there is now a very strong centralisation tendency with in migration from rural areas. This, combined with increasing in-migration from abroad, is placing considerable pressure on the remaining farmland – particularly fertile land on the outskirts of major cities. Conflict between agricultural policy objectives for conserving farmland and an increasing financial interest following the demand for housing, roads and infrastructure is thus becoming a major issue in the public and political arenas.  Based on a Norwegian case study, this paper will show how food provisioning and food security as collective goals is framed and positioned in discursive struggles on land between financialization, climate concerns and urban growth.