In recent years, consumption of alternatively produced foods has increased in popularity in response to the deleterious effects of rapidly globalising and industrialised food systems. Concerns over food safety in relation to these changes may result from elevated levels of risk and changing perceptions associated with food production practices. This paper explores how the middle class residents of Islamabad, Pakistan, use the concept of ‘good food’ to reconnect themselves with nature, changing food systems, and traditional values. The paper also demonstrates how these ideas relate to those of organic, local, and traditional food consumption as currently used in more economically developed states in the Global North. Through research based on participant observation and semi-structured interviews, this paper illustrates that besides price and convenience, purity, freshness, association with specific places, and ‘Pakistani-ness’ were considered as the basis for making decisions about ‘good food’. The results show that while individuals are aware of and have some access to imported organic and local food, they prefer using holistic and culturally informed concepts of ‘good food’ instead that reconnect them with food systems. I argue that through conceptualisations of ‘good food’, the urban middle class in Islamabad is reducing their disconnection and dis-embeddedness from nature, the food systems, and their social identities. The paper contributes to literature on food anxieties, reconnections in food geography, and ‘good food’ perceptions, with a focus on Pakistan.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2018
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