Valuing in the Agrifood System: The Case of Fresh Grain Legumes in Denmark

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Transitioning towards more sustainable food products, such as plant proteins, requires a change in practice by several actors in the agrifood system. Change of this kind involves everyday choices about what food to produce, sell, prepare, and eat. Inspired by science and technology studies (STS) thinking, we investigate how such choices are influenced by socio-material practices of valuing. We use the case of fresh grain legumes for human consumption to explore how valuing is simultaneously affected by and shapes the agrifood system. Through interviews with 24 actors in the Danish agrifood system, we identify valuing parameters ranging from taste, nitrogen fixation, durability, and nutrition to price. The study reveals differences regarding what and how actors value depending on the actors’ position in the agrifood system and how the fresh grain legumes travel from field to plate. Where values conflict, we observe how some valuing practices have the power to exclude others and thereby prevent specific enactments of the fresh grain legumes. We argue that looking for valuing practices can help us understand how agrifood systems come into being, and that valuing differently can represent active involvement, both academically and practically, in encouraging change in the agrifood system. By using STS-thinking, the study brings novel insights about barriers towards more plant-based diets and contributes to the diversification of theoretical perspectives on sustainable transitions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2946
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2023


  • STS
  • agrifood system
  • fresh grain legumes
  • sustainable transition
  • valuing

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