The Organic Consumer Association (OCA) in Iceland was established by domestic producers, importers, retailers and consumers. What separated this consumer association from conventional ones was that its founders included both organic producers and “middlemen” (importers, wholesalers and retailers). These same middlemen are often criticized for destroying valuable connections between producers and consumers, but in OCA they worked with producers and consumers toward a common goal. In the article, I deploy the concept of “co-consumption” to analyze how different actors within the contemporary food chain engage with the production and consumption of organic food. “Co-consumption” can be defined as individual and collective efforts to tackle issues within the industrial food system. Such consumption is based on emotional practices that establish relationships between people, products, spaces, and places. So what happens when organic producers and entrepreneurs begin to define themselves as consumers while fighting for increased consumption through the Organic Consumer Association? And what can these encounters between organic producers, middlemen, and consumers tell us about contemporary consumption practices? Drawing on theories of emotion, the article explores the dynamics, frictions, and mutual obligations that drive ethical consumption on a day-to-day basis.
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