Séminaire interfacultaire en environnement 2019 : L’alimentation, mais encore ? Voir au-delà de nos assiettes
The turn toward sustainable agriculture has been accompanied by a proliferation of third-party certification schemes. These schemes are often justified, and mandated, on the grounds that they are necessary to provide transparency, ensure compliance with quality standards, and produce public trust. This talk inquires into the relationship between transparency and trust in food certification by focusing on the development of third-party certified organic agriculture in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. The ethnographic research on which this talk is based complicates widely held notions that trust is an outcome of certification. It shows how sentiments of trust are mobilized and conditioned through practices of document-keeping and inspections. Trust, then, is not merely produced by certification, but encompasses a range of sentiments on which certification systems rely for their functioning. These findings may encourage us to think anew about understandings of, and aspirations for, trust and transparency in our food systems.