Unexpected Counter-Movements to Nationalism: the Hidden Potential of Local Food Communities

February 7, 2020

A new open access article that is based on research carried out within the framework of the SOLIDUS project (Solidarity in European Societies: Empowerment, Social Justice and Citizenship) is now available. Authors are the CEU CPS researchers who worked on the project: Sara Svensson, Peter Balogh and Andrew Cartwright. The article is published in the journal Eastern European Countryside.


This article identifies a hitherto understudied element of local food communities, namely their potential as counter-movements to nationalist discourses, practices and policies. This potential should be particularly valuable in Eastern Europe, where European integration has been severely contested over the past years by political elites. We support our argument by a closer qualitative inquiry into two cases; one with urban-rural dimensions in the metropolitan area of Budapest and one in a more sparsely populated cross-border region at the Slovak-Hungarian border. Based on 18 interviews with coordinators, producers and consumers, numerous visits to both sites, and studying the organisations’ documents we conclude that the growth of local food communities contributes to strengthened solidarity in local communities. Although nationalist discourses on buying domestic are rarely contested explicitly, the lack of any reference to national movements and discourses testifies to the primary importance of the local.

Keywords: local food; food citizenship; economic nationalism, economic internationalism, national branding, cross-border cooperation, rural development

The article is available online on the journal's website.