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Guadalupe Ramos-Truchero (University of Valladolid, Spain)

Topic: Food Inequalities in Spanish rural areas. A study of food practices in depopulated and depressed communities

Key Words: rural food, food access, food inequalities, Spanish rural depopulation.


The transformations of restructuring food retail and the rural depopulation has provided significant changes in food access in the rural population. The Spanish commerce in the dispersed rural territories tends to be characterized by a lower availability of food stores that are increasingly concentrated.
This is an important restriction for rural consumers because it forces them to develop alternative strategies of food supply that allow them solve the organization of food shopping and cooking.
This paper explores the different ways of organizing food practices in shopping and cooking in the households of small Spanish rural areas and shows how these are related to the lack of food retail. We conducted qualitative research based on in-depth interviews with 11 households located in comuninities with less than 2,000 inhabitants that are part of a Región of northern Spain (Asturias).
We identify the existence of a particular food organization derived from food practices such as family production on small farms for own consumption, individual food storage or the presence of itinerant trade. These alternative routines combine with shopping in small local retailers and grocery stores located in nearly villages where rural residents must travel to access a greater range of food. In the same way, references are made to various public-private policies that seek to improve food distribution in rural areas.

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