Treasure in the vault: the guardianship of 'heritage' seeds, fruit and vegetables

Wincott, Abigail ORCID logoORCID: (2017) Treasure in the vault: the guardianship of 'heritage' seeds, fruit and vegetables. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 21 (6). pp. 627-642. ISSN 13678779

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Abstract / Summary

Crop heritage is a growing global phenomenon whereby people conceive of change to agriculture in terms of loss, issuing calls to safeguard what remains for future generations. This article seeks to understand what it means to think about food and the politics of its production and consumption through the frame of 'heritage' by interrogating a prevalent metaphor of plants and seeds as 'treasure'. It argues the metaphor is more than decorative; it is strategic in producing certain conceptualisations of heritage value. While crop diversity is held to be important, and the great range of food plants a 'common heritage of humankind', the treasure metaphor is used in ways that impede the maintenance of that diversity, establishing seeds, plants and genes as precious materials best looked after by expert guardians in and secure 'vaults', 'banks' and walled gardens. Thus this particular conception of 'treasure' as a universal good actually plays an important role in legitimising and normalising the privatisation of crops heritage resources.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1177/1367877917733541
Uncontrolled Keywords: Heirloom, heritage, crop conservation, alternative consumption, environmental humanities, biodiversity
ISSN: 13678779
Subjects: Film & TV > TV > British TV
Writing & Journalism > Journalism
Communication > Media
Social Sciences
Courses by Department: The School of Writing & Journalism > Journalism
Depositing User: Abigail Wincott
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2019 11:24
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 16:28


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