Foodscapes and food culture

Last changed: 07 July 2021
Spices in an Indian market

The concept of foodscapes originates from geography and is widely used in urban studies and public health to refer to urban food environments.

Sociologists have extended the concept to include the institutional arrangements, cultural spaces, and discourses that mediate our relationship with our food – food culture. It considers the places and spaces where you acquire food, prepare food, talk about food, or generally gather some sort of meaning from food.

At SLU, there is currently an intent to start a center for food studies under the heading of foodscapes. The initiative would link sustainable food production and consumption closer together and add knowledge of sustainable planning of landscapes and cities (e.g. Sarlöv Herlin and Tellström, 2013), which includes land use planning and urban agriculture. The emphasis is on the need for systems understanding through cross-disciplinary science. Consequently, a holistic approach to food production and consumption is taken, that integrates other crucial aspects central to food than production, such as health, well-being, climate, environment, ecosystem services, equality and ethics, at both local and global levels. In particular, the initiative seeks to highlight the relationship between food, place, people, society, as a link between city and countryside, and how this can be used in sustainable planning and in conversion to a circular and bio-based economy. The importance of relationships between chefs and producers as a factor for changes in food culture – food choice as a reflection of cultural values – is another potential focus area outlined in this initiative



Ingrid Sarlöv Herlin, Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management.