Issue Number Four: Food Infrastructures

Edited by Mikko Jauho, David Schleifer, Bart Penders and Xaq Frohlich

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May 2014: This issue of Limn analyzes food infrastructures and addresses scale in food production, provision, and consumption. We go beyond the tendency towards simple producer “push” or consumer “pull” accounts of the food system, focusing instead on the work that connects producers to consumers. By describing and analyzing food infrastructures, our contributors examine the reciprocal relationships among consumer choice, personal use, and the socio-material arrangements that enable, channel, and constrain our everyday food options.

Contributors: Christopher OtterFranck Cochoy,Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier, Kim Hendrickx, Heather Paxson, Mikko Jauho,Susanne FreidbergEmily Yates-DoerrAlison Fairbrother and David Schleifer,Javier LezaunBart Penders and Steven Flipse, Xaq Frohlich, Michael G. Powell, Makalé Faber-Cullen and Anna Lappé 

Elements of Food Infrastructure

As food has industrialized, it has changed, along with our bodies and our economies. Matthew Hockenberry charts conceptual connections in this issue with a timeline.

Measuring Food

Food system activist Anna Lappé takes stock of the pieces in this issue.

All Lost In The Supermarket

Anthropologist and retail consultant Michael Powell takes us on a stroll down Aisle #6. What’s in the center of the grocery store and why is it causing a crisis in the industry?

Labels for Life

The labels on our food exist in a complex political struggle over consumers’ attention. Xaq Frohlich walks us through the information infrastructure of the label and its impact on our “choices.”

Iconoclasm in the Supermarket

What happens when activists re-label your food? Javier Lezaun explores the “Label It Yourself” movement and its ambivalent power.

The Fish at the Heart of the Food System

You have never seen a menhaden, but you have eaten one. Although no one sits down to a plate of these silvery, bug-eyed, foot-long fish at a seafood restaurant, menhaden travel through the human food chain mostly undetected in the

The Silence of the Labs

Is sugar a choice? Kim Hendrickx explores how a Sugar Museum in Belgium puts life and health into perspective.

The Art of the Monger

How do cheesemongers extend the value of a dying commodity? Heather Paxson explores how mongers care for living cheese—and for the craft of their trade.


Mikko Jauho demonstrates how a ‘double risk object’ connects the worlds of food and health across different scales.

Trojan Cans

How did the self-service economy emerge? Franck Cochoy displays the ‘pico-infrastructure’ behind modern consumption.

Scaling Up/Scaling Down

Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier shows how French markets and social movements interact in food provisioning

Food Infrastructures: A Preview

What is the difference between feeding eight people and eight billion people? How does scale inform or determine what’s for dinner and what’s in the crates on the supertanker? Xaq Frolich, Mikko Jauho, Bart Penders, and David Schleifer give a little preview of Issue Four…