China’s Changing Food System

LinkedIn group called “China’s Changing Food System” to promote more awareness and discussion about food system sustainability issues in China. Anyone can join. Here is the description:

China has a rich food culture, diverse agricultural practices, and intricate local cuisines. China has also undergone periods of tremendous food shortages in its history. Nowadays, its large population and the growing demand for food, accompanying rapid economic growth, has generated significant impacts on the food system globally, such as volatility of global food prices and “land grabbing”. The food system within China is undergoing a rapid transformation towards being more efficiency-oriented. This accompanies a process of rapid urbanization in which farmers are migrating to cities and farmland is being taken up for construction. This agri-industrialization has also brought about serious environmental and social consequences. In the sphere of civil society, grassroots initiatives such as alternative food networks are emerging to tackle these challenges. To grapple with these complex issues around food production, distribution, consumption, and waste in China, this group aims to open a space for conversation and knowledge exchange among people with diverse backgrounds who are interested in social, economic, political, and ecological dimensions of transformations in China’s food system. Potential topics for the group are food security, food safety, food policy, food supply chains, ecological and organic agriculture, “alternative food networks” (such as farmers’ markets and Community-Supported Agriculture farms), and the roles of the state, the private sector, and grassroots actors in food initiatives.
For more info:


Fully-funded collaborative PhD Studentship: School of Geography, University of Nottingham

‘Developing sustainable diets collectively: participatory approaches to addressing the challenge of dietary sources of pollution in the Eye Brook catchment, Leicestershire’

The School of Geography at the University of Nottingham invites applications from suitably qualified students for the following ESRC funded collaborative PhD studentship to cover maintenance and fees for full-time study.

This novel and transdisciplinary PhD research project embeds a social science research project within a larger natural science experiment on water friendly farming conducted by the project partner – the Allerton Project, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. It intersects with emerging societal and social scientific debates about the contribution of diet to sustainability transitions within the food system, the challenges of ‘diffuse’ pollution control and the role and practice of participatory and collective approaches in rural environmental governance, particularly at the spatial scale of the catchment.

The candidate will have, or be working towards achieving in 2016, an upper second or first class Bachelors degree in geography or cognate discipline, such as sociology, anthropology, social psychology or environmental studies. A candidate with a Bachelors degree will be expected to undertake a Masters degree (in Environmental Geography) that will be fully funded during the first year of the studentship. Alternatively, the candidate will have a Masters degree in any of the above disciplines and if this higher degree meets the ESRC’s research training requirements they will be eligible to begin studying immediately for a PhD and for 3 years of funding. Ideally, the candidate will also have relevant pre or post-degree experience of working with community groups and be able to demonstrate an academic interest in the relationships between food, eating and the environment. The candidate must fulfil relevant ESRC eligibility criteria:

The successful applicant will be entitled to a full-time, yearly tax free stipend at current RCUK rates (£14,057 for 2015/16, updated each year), plus tuition fees (£4,060 for 2015/16) and additional research funds.

Further details and application forms are available at: or from Andrea Payne, Postgraduate Research Administrator, School of Geography, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD. Tel: 0115 951 5575. Email: Andrea.Payne [at] For an informal discussion about the project please contact the academic supervisors: contact Dr Carol Morris (Carol.Morris [at] or Dr Susanne Seymour (Susanne.Seymour [at]

The closing date for applications is 12th February 2016 and the date for interviews for the position is Wednesday 2nd March. The project will start in September 2016.

Call for Submissions: Special Issue of Food, Culture and Society

Two more papers are sought to be part of a themed issue titled ‘Eating in the City’ for the journal Food, Culture and Society. The themed issue is interdisciplinary and contributions focusing on Asian cities or Asian migration in cities are welcomed. If you are interested to submit a paper, please contact Kelvin Low (kelvinlow [at] and Elaine Ho (elaine.ho [at] before 31 January 2016.

Timeline: first drafts by April 2016 with anticipated publication date in 2017

Food plays a central role in everyday social life. Taken together, food and foodways constitute the manner in which people relate to urban space and to one other. As cities transform, the ways that people eat and procure food also change, along with the sociocultural meanings of food itself. The multifarious ways in which food has shaped and continues to shape our lives socially, economically, politically, morally and nutritionally attest to the importance of studying gastronomic practices that connect people across regions, time, and social groups. The mobility of different communities and their accompanying foodways also impact upon how eating cultures in host societies are transformed and reorganized.

If the city is a site of gastronomic production, consumption, and exchange, how do such urban social spheres relate to shifting identities for social actors when foodways traverse both different cities and across borders? Is there a discernible urban ethos and subscription to modernizing forces that thereby influence how foodways are enacted, modified, and transformed?

By reflecting upon the role that food plays in human relations and across different spaces, this proposed special issue serves as a platform towards unravelling the enduring everyday culinary habits, rituals, creativity, and sensory experiences that are collectively used to nurture shared senses of cultural identity and economic livelihoods. In so doing, the special issue brings food studies into dialogue with key debates on diversity, conviviality, nostalgia, urbanization and modernization found in the disciplines of anthropology, cultural studies, history, geography, sociology and urban studies. Through connective, comparative, and historical perspectives, academics and urban stakeholders can together articulate a deeper meaning of food in cities so as to encourage stakeholders to consider its cultural significance as well as the economic centrality it represents to migrant communities and food enthusiasts.

The papers in the special issue deliberate upon three key lines of inquiry:

1. How do people perceive their positioning in the urban social order through their culinary practices, particularly amid the urban manifestations of global political-economic restructuring and sociocultural change?

2. How do the politics and sensescapes of gastronomy relate to the transformation and redevelopment of urban spaces? How is modern urban life shaped by immigration and migratory foodways?

3. Most pertinently, we ask, how are processes related to food and foodways, senses and urban change intertwined?

University of Manchester, Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) PhD Studentships

The University of Manchester’s Sustainable Consumption Institute will be offering up to 4 fully-funded PhD studentships to outstanding candidates wishing to commence their doctoral studies in September 2016.

The Sustainable Consumption Institute aims to bring insight and clarity to a key part of the sustainability challenge: the role of consumption. It takes original insights from across the Social Sciences and subjects them to critical empirical scrutiny in order to advance fundamental understandings about processes of consumption and innovation, and to consider their implications for transitions towards more sustainable societies.

The studentships will need to be closely aligned with the research agenda and ongoing activities of the SCI, and so applicants are advised to consult the SCI’s website and research pages for details of existing projects.

Successful candidates will be funded by the SCI, supervised by at least one member of SCI research staff (Boons, Browne, Evans, Geels, MacGregor, McMeekin, Mylan, Southerton, Yates), and located within a host School. The exact location of the studentship will depend on the applicant’s project, their interests, and their supervisor. We anticipate that most candidates will be based in the School of Social Sciences (SoSS), Manchester Business School (MBS) or the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED).

Candidates are invited to write a research proposal for a PhD project that complements and/or extends current SCI research projects. Proposals should be c.1500 words long and include a title, the background to the project, the research design and methodology, and a bibliography. We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates whose projects address the following topics:

*Comprehensive analysis of system innovations in food, energy, or transport
*Comparative research on socio-cultural change, the temporal organization of daily life, and trajectories of consumption
*Environmental movements and/or consumer activism
*The dynamics of societal problems and responses by large incumbent industries
*The food-energy-water nexus and its relationship to different system boundaries (e.g. households, cities)
*Alternative modes of food provision and delivery (in particular, eating outside the home)
*Histories and dynamics of everyday life, city transitions, and sustainability in China (with potential to collaborate with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences or University of Shanghai)
The diffusion and appropriation of sustainable innovations (in particular related to meat substitutes)
*Comparative political economies of sustainable transition pathways
*Sustainability and social difference/inequalities (gender, class, race, age, abilities, intersectionality, etcetera)
*The cultural politics of sustainable food (contested meanings of food quality, rival problem framings, the distribution of responsibilities, etcetera)

Please note that this list is indicative and not exhaustive. Candidates must get in touch with potential supervisors to discuss their ideas in advance of making an application. Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr David Evans <david.evans [at]>

Studentship details – The studentships comprise an annual stipend of £14,210, payment of fees up to the level charged for UK/EU students (TBC but currently £4,052) and £1,000 for fieldwork and conference expenses. It might be possible to cover the fees for non-UK/EU candidates, but this will only happen in exceptional circumstances. The studentship will be for direct entry onto the three year (+3) PhD programme. The programme will commence in September 2016. Continuation of the award is subject to satisfactory performance.

Entry Requirements – Applicants must hold a Bachelors degree equivalent to a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours UK degree. They must also have (or expect to gain) a UK Masters degree (or overseas equivalent) at Merit level (with a coursework/examination average of 60% or more AND a dissertation mark of 60% or more, with no mark below 50%) or above in a relevant social science discipline. Preference will be given to candidates whose Masters degree involves a significant element of social science research methods training, and those who performed at distinction level (70% or higher) or equivalent.

How to apply – Applicants should email a full CV together with a covering letter and research proposal. Please note that applying for the SCI PhD studentship is separate process to applying for entry to a PhD programme. Successful candidates will therefore also be required to fulfill the normal admissions procedures for the school in which they will be based.

Further information – HERE  or e-mail: <david.evans [at]>

The deadline for applications is 22nd January, 2016.

Research Positions: University of Dublin. Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies

Final call for three dynamic researchers to work on an ERC-funded project SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies, based within the Geography Department, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin. Post summaries are provided below. Full details available from or Anna Davies: <daviesa [at]>

1. PhD Studentship: 4 years, tax-free stipend (€16,000pa) and payment of EU level academic fees

2. 2 x Postdoctoral researchers: 2 years, IUA level 2, point 1 salary scale €37,750 pro rata

All deadlines 18th December at 12 noon (Irish Standard Time)

PhD Post Summary:

Applications are invited for a four year ERC (European Research Council) funded PhD studentship based at the Department of Geography at Trinity College, the University of Dublin, under the supervision of Professor Anna Davies and as part of the ERC-funded project SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies. The successful applicant will become a core member of the SHARECITY team (which will include the Principal Investigator, at least 4 postdoctoral researchers and a Research Assistant). This PhD project will contribute to the SHARECITY team’s conceptual and analytical development in the identification and classification of food sharing activities within cities globally. The successful candidate will assist in the development of a global database of city-based food sharing and undertake an in-depth ethnographic study of food sharing within one global city identified by the Principal Investigator. Research will include site visits, participant observation, interviews and netnographies of sharers (donors, facilitators and recipients) as well as co-designing and trialling a sustainability assessment toolkit with sharers and sharing regulators within the case study city. The final component of the PhD will include conducting a backcasting experiment with key stakeholders regarding the future of food sharing in cities. The successful candidate will be hosted in the Department of Geography, School of Natural Science and will become a member of Environmental Governance Research Group and the Future Cities Research Centre. General enquires concerning this post can be addressed to <daviesa [at]>

Post-doctoral Posts Summary:

The Department of Geography at Trinity College, the University of Dublin, is seeking two Post-Doctorate Researchers to work with Professor Anna Davies on the ERC-funded project SHARECITY: Assessing the practice and sustainability potential of city-based food sharing economies. The successful applicants will be core members of the SHARECITY team (which will also include the Principal Investigator, further Post-Doctorate Researchers, a PhD student and a Research Assistant). The post-doctoral researchers will contribute to the first two phases of the SHARECITY project, specifically focusing on a) conceptual and analytical development in the identification and classification of food sharing activities within cities to culminate in the development of a global database of 100 cities and b) in-depth ethnographic studies of food sharing within selected global cities identified through the database. The research will include site visits, participant observation, interviews and netnographies of sharers (donors, facilitators and recipients). The successful candidates will be hosted in the Department of Geography, School of Natural Science and will become members of Environmental Governance Research Group and the Future Cities Research Centre. General enquires concerning these posts should be addressed to <daviesa [at]>

MSc in Food, Space and Society, Cardiff University

This exciting Masters programme in Food, Space and Society offers in-depth insights into:

· the opportunities for (and barriers to) food security, sustainability and justice;

· the implications of food policies on spatial and socio-economic relationships between different actors in the food system and between rural and urban areas; and

· the development effects of strategies that address the welfare and health needs of the human and animal population.

The programme involves six bespoke modules, addressing key issues in the contemporary global food system, alongside a food-related dissertation on a topic selected by each student in consultation with members of staff. The core modules are Worlds of Food, Spaces of Food Consumption, Sustainable Food Systems, Researching Sustainability, Food Security and Justice and Meat Debates.

The course is designed and taught by staff from the Research Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Food (SURF), who have longstanding and world-renowned expertise on changing geographies of food; led by Prof Roberta Sonnino, the teaching team also includes Dr Chris Bear, Dr Ana Moragues Faus, Prof Terry Marsden, Prof Mara Miele, Prof Paul Milbourne and Prof Kevin Morgan. The teaching team’s engagement in agenda-setting research ensures that students are exposed to the most recent debates in food studies and are involved with our extensive network of stakeholders.

The degree will be of particular interest to those people wishing to gain expertise in contemporary food geographies, offering the knowledge and expertise for developing a research career or taking advantage of the increasing professionalization of food jobs in the private and public sectors.

Further details, including on how to apply, are available HERE.  If you have any questions, please contact Prof. Roberta Sonnino <SonninoR [at]> or any member of the course team.


The Food Geographies Working Group (FGWG) invites proposals at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016 being held at The Royal Geographical Society (with Institute if British Geographers) in London from Wednesday 31 August to Friday 2 September 2016. Professor Peter Jackson will chair the conference with the theme ‘Nexus Thinking’:

“The aim of nexus thinking is to address the interdependencies, tensions and trade-offs between different environmental and social domains – an approach to which geographers might feel an inherent attraction. Rather than seeing energy, food and water resources as separate systems, for example, nexus thinking focuses on their interconnections, favouring an integrated approach that moves beyond national, sectoral, policy and disciplinary silos to identify more efficient, equitable and sustainable use of scarce resources.”

You can find out more HERE.
In keeping with this theme we would particularly welcome sessions exploring:

*The power of nexus thinking in opening up debates on Food Security – Grassroots approaches to promoting Food Security – Challenging discourses on Food Security

*Food waste: a lens on systemic food issues.  Boosting the message: Food Waste, celebrity chefs and visual culture

*Bringing Food Justice to the table –The role of Experiential Food Knowledge in promoting food access –The power of online networks in extending Global Food Voices and global food networks

*Exploring civil society-social science collaborations and their power to transform food knowledges –Social Food Movements as agents of change

*Policy and Praxis in seeding food change

However, we are also open to sessions that engage with food geographies more broadly. A summary of the group’s interests can be found HERE.

Sessions may take the form of presented papers, panels, practitioner forums, discussions or workshops. Innovative sessions and formats are encouraged.

Proposals should include:

(i) Title of session

(ii) Name of Co-sponsoring groups, if applicable

(iii) Name and Contact Details for Session Convenors

(iv) Abstract, outlining scope of session – 200 words max.

(v) Number of session timeslots that are sought – this year session may not normally occupy more than 2 time slots

(vi) Indication of preferred organisation of session, e.g. 4 x 20min presentation, plus 20min discussion or 5 x 15min presentation, with 5min question for each, we welcome creative formats. Sessions last 1 hour 40 mins

(vii) Indication of any non-standard arrangements, please note there will not be support for Skype or other forms of distance participation at AC2016. However, individual session organisers are welcome to incorporate presentations in this format into their sessions if they feel confident they can do so within the IT setup provided (all rooms will have laptop, projector, screen, speakers and internet connection).

The deadline for proposals is Friday 8th January 2016.

Proposals for, or questions about, FGWG sponsored sessions should be sent to Dr. Rebecca Sandover.  Email: rebeccasandover [at]

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