Pork, Planning and Place

[Note: A complete version of this paper can be found at the following: Throgmorton, James A. 2012. Pork, Place, and Planning. Poroi: Vol. 8, 1. Available at: http://ir.uiowa.edu/poroi/vol8/iss1/2]

This paper focuses on the relationship between pork producers and consumers, and upon the consequences of that relationship for long-term sustainability in the places of consumption, production, and the whole of which they are a part. The paper first connects the negative externalities associated with pork consumption to contemporary urban theorizing concerning “space” and “place” in a globalized “network society.” It then documents how consumer behavior in large U. S. metropolitan areas is linked to the industrialized agricultural system that produces corn-related products in the Midwest of the United States and distributes those products to distant markets, and it details the complex ecology of effects associated with that agricultural system by using the Iowa River watershed as a paradigmatic example. Lastly it explores the merits of collaborative planning as a means of transforming the Iowa River watershed (and the larger systems of which it is a part) in a more sustainable direction. It ends by recommending that the major social and environmental costs of pork production and transport be internalized into prices through adoption of a carbon fee at the national level, and that other social and environmental costs be addressed by interested stakeholders through collaborative planning at the regional scale.

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