Competition: Design Our Logo RGS-IBG Food Geographies Working Group



The Food Geographies Working Group (FGWG) of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers was established in October 2015. Our aims are to bring together geographers who study all aspects of food from production to consumption and so act as a key voice in food related research, policy and practice.

To help establish and maintain the identity of the group, we are looking for a logo that captures our aims and represents ‘food geographies’.

Therefore, we need your help!

So, what does ‘food geography’ mean to you?

Can you think of an image or phrase that summarises it clearly?

We don’t mind if your idea is a drawing or written description but please get in touch either by email ( or on Twitter (@foodgeog) by Monday 4th April 2016.

All entries will be considered by the FGWG committee and the winner will be announced by the 7th April. The prize? Respect, admiration and a £10 book voucher.


CFP: Cities as Nodes in the Food Nexus: RGS-IBG AC16

Convenors: Dr Beth Perry and Dr Mike Hardman (University of Salford, UK), Dr Gareth Hysom (University of Cape Town, South Africa), Dr Peter Rundkvist (Business Region Gothenburg, Sweden), Stephen Agong (Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Univesity of Science and Technology (JOOUST), Kenya)
Session sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group

These two interlinked sessions will explore how cities provide a unique crucible for exploring the food nexus. Starting with the Mistra Urban Futures network of cities in Sweden, South Africa, Kenya and the UK, the session will draw on live examples of food-based initiatives in each urban context to explore the dynamic interconnections in the urban food nexus. These include security, waste, justice, movements, governance, policy and practice and new themes will emerge throughout the session.

The first session will then focus on “Mapping the Urban Foodscape”. Each participant will present the landscape of food initiatives in their city via different forms of representation – this could involve posters, media, presentations etc. Each participant will be limited to 10 minutes. A discussion will be facilitated to identify key issues in the urban food nexus and select four themes for subsequent World Café discussion. The second session is called ‘Mapping the Urban Food Nexus’. A World Café discussion will take place around the four themes identified. Each table will be hosted by one of the Mistra Urban Futures city partners and then feedback issues which emerge from the discussions. A general reflection on ‘Cities as Nodes in the Food Nexus’ will take place, along with an identification of key priorities and opportunities for joint research-practice collaborations.

Overall, the sessions will provide an opportunity for examining how cities are themselves nodes in the food nexus and consider the combined role of research-practice relationships in addressing ‘wicked’ urban food issues. In the spirit of co-production, each attendee will have the opportunity to be an active participant and share and explore key themes from their own perspective. We therefore welcome expressions of interest to participate from academics and practitioners in different urban contexts in the Global South and North.

Please send a 250 word expression of interest to <b.perry [at]> and <m.hardman [at]> by 12th February. This should include full author details, a short description of the urban foodscape you wish to explore and examples of key initiatives, a short description of your research/practice interests and projects you have been involved in. We would also like to know how you would intend to use your 10 minutes to present the landscape of food initiatives in your chosen city.

CFP: Open discussion session: Doing food research: method, transdisciplinarity and reflexivity: RGS-IBG AC2016

Convenors: Charlotte Spring & Rebecca StClair (Salford University)
Session sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group

Call for contributions:
Food researchers grapple with big questions: climate change, systems complexity, power and justice, where the macro often collapses into the micro. The researcher’s role (or search for one) blurs into the research context, where reflexive awareness can shed light on the importance of interpersonal relationships, emotion and registers of identity/difference/privilege in negotiating ‘the field’. This can be especially the case for those aiming at participatory, action-focussed work that considers the ethics of engagement and impact, and the politics of knowledge beyond ‘policy relevance’.

Furthermore, the multi-disciplinary backgrounds of many food geographers bring a wealth of methodological tools to the discipline. The process of ‘borrowing’ methodological tools and adapting them to fit a particular research purpose deserves its own consideration and a discussion of the potential merits and pitfalls of a transdisciplinary approach. How does one learn the craft of research in fast-changing, uncertain times?

The (incomplete) turn towards reflexivity, complexity and transdisciplinarity has opened up a rich seam of reflection for academic method and theory. This session will provide a safe and gentle space for such reflection. We invite proposals for short (approx 5 min) spoken contributions (especially from postgraduates), to begin the session and stimulate questioning and discussion of the ‘doing’ of research: these could include insights from fieldwork, approaches to analysis and writing, uses of technology, experiences of collaboration, participatory/action research, institutional challenges, ethical quandaries and so on…we hope the session’s broad focus will appeal to researchers in the many fields food connects with.

Please send an outline of your proposed contribution to Charlotte Spring <c.spring [at]> or Rebecca StClair <r.stclair [at]> by 16th February

CFP: Eater-Eaten Material Formations In, Against, and Beyond Consumer Relationships: RGS-IBG AC16

Convenor:  Suzanne Hocknell, University of Exeter.
Session sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group

In popular culture and in the media consumers are rebuked for being fatter than is good for health, more reliant on animal products than is good for the climate, and more reliant on global networks than is good for communities. Consuming well is framed as a responsibility to ourselves, our families, institutions and nation; and to the future of our planet. To this end, a multitude of campaigns attempt to re-educate consumers into ‘better’ / more caring food consumption practices by unveiling some of the bodies, relationships, ecosystems or power structures entangled behind the label. Such campaigns, however, do little to trouble the conceptualisation of non-human bodies as a resource that can be commoditised.

The bodies and relationships of consumer and consumed are co-constructed and remade with-in the structures, tellings, affects, and performances of consumption. Naming the Other as consumable frames the eater and the eaten as different kinds of things. Naming the Other as consumable frames the Other as a thing that can be reduced to commodity. A thing that may be cared for, but is destined to cease to become. Yet eating is already and always excessive to framings where one consumes the Other. Eater and eaten fold together, co-creating new material formations within and beyond the body of the eater (Probyn 2000), (Mol, 2008).

This session invites papers that explore the co-creation of eater-eaten material formations in, against, and beyond consumer relationships.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

*How the bodies and relationships of consumer and consumed are co-constructed and re-made within the beliefs, tellings, affects, and performances of consumption

*The limitations of framing eater and eaten as consumer and consumed

*Material formations co-created within eater-eaten encounters, practices and systems

*Human and non-human resistance to consumed-consumer relationships

*Possibilities for convivial eater-eaten encounters, practices and systems

Please send proposals for papers, with a title, an abstract of up to 250 words, and your full contact details to Suzanne Hocknell, <sh422 [at]> University of Exeter.

Deadline: Friday 12th February.

PhD opportunity at Lancaster Environment Centre: Can food sovereignty be up-scaled? The scope, limits and politics of community initiatives in the context of global food security

PhD opportunity at Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster Univeristy (UK)
Deadline for Applications: 14 February 2016
Start: October 2016

Info and on-line application:

For further information or informal discussion about the position, please contact G. Bettini
or R. Whittle .

The sustainability of food systems is one of the most pressing global challenges at the intersection of environmental and developmental policy, and has attracted a vast amount of research. Currently, such research falls into two broad camps. On the one hand, there is a large body of work concerned with developing food security at the global scale. This research tends to place a strong emphasis on science and technology “solutions” and the search for top-down interventions in biophysical, agricultural and economic systems. However, recent years have seen the emergence a contrasting body of literature concerned with the development of ‘food sovereignty’. This work, which has strong roots in critical social science, places the emphasis on giving control of food systems back to farmers and communities. Consequently, proposed interventions tend to be low tech, diverse and bottom-up in character. However, while proponents of such approaches tend to emphasise their value in transforming power imbalances within the food system, critics dismiss them because they are often seen to be purely local in scale and thus of limited value for addressing global food insecurity.

The two approaches often talk past each other, and few studies seriously engage with both. With this project you will fill this crucial knowledge gap, combining exciting empirical work with community groups at the cutting edge of action on food sovereignty with in-depth theoretical engagement. The key objective is to assess the potential of community food projects to foster food sovereignty. In particular, you will explore the scope and limitations of their engagement with transnational initiatives, economic processes, policies. To this end, the perspective of polycentric governance will help in understanding processes and entities that cannot be placed in any of the boxes (international, national, regional or local) envisioned by traditional understandings of scale. The aim is thus to generate a better understanding of the scope and limitations of novel forms of action and governance within food systems (with unconventional combinations of private and governmental actors, networks, community groups, etc.) which transnational initiatives bring to life, and of which community engagement is an important ingredient.

The project combines theoretical/conceptual elaboration with qualitative empirical research with community-level groups whose actions are focused on creating food and climate security for their locales (for example, Transition Town initiatives, the Incredible Edibles movement and Sustainable Food Cities groups) AND that engage with transnational groups such as La Via Campesina, The Transition Network and the Slow Food Movement. The choice of the specific case study will be negotiated with the supervisors at the beginning of the project.

CFP: The Food Rurality Nexus: RGS-IBG AC16

Convenor: Ms Hannah Brooking <hb110 [at]>
Session sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group

Postgraduate and Early Career Session

This session will explore nexus relations between food and rurality. In the 1980s and 1990s, rural geography was closely associated with the geographies of agricultural food production, although during the latter decade a series of new ingredients were stirred into the constitution of rural studies, including many that seemed to have little or no connection with agricultural geographies. Despite some efforts to forge some lines of connection (e.g. Morris & Evan 1999; Cheshire 2012), the geographies of food and the geographies of rurality have often been examined in isolation from one another, particularly empirically where food geographies have increasingly focused on areas beyond the rural, and also in the theoretical registers being used. The emergence of nexus thinking, however, may provide an opportunity for recognising new connections, interdependencies, trade-offs and tensions between food and rurality. The demands of the globalised food-supply chains, for instance, may transform, create unsustainable demands on or detrimentally impact a range of human and more-than-human constituents of rural space, including water courses, soils, plants, wildlife, landscapes, and human communities. The rural, or images and imaginings of the rural, may be crucial in the marketing of food, travelling together to places that are far from their rural places of origin, as well as potentially attracting people into particular rural localities.

This session wants to hear from postgraduates and early career researchers who wish to present their research proposals and research results in a friendly and constructive forum.

Papers are welcome on any areas of research addressing food and rurality, including but not limited to studies of: rural agricultural production; rural food networks and marketing; the marketing of rural places through food; farming communities and the impact of changes in food production on rural communities, transformations of rural space through agri-food production; relations between agri-food and other forms of rural land users; the environmental demands of food production on rural areas; food and rural landscape transformations; food and the re-composition of rural identities, and the globalisation and/or localisation of rural space through food

Deadline for submitting abstracts is Monday 8th February 2016

Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words and proposed titles (clearly stating name, institution, and contact details) to Ms Hannah Brooking <hb110 [at]>

CFP: Organising Food Access: Community Food, Governance and Place: RGS-IBG AC16

Convenors: Dr Mags Adams & Dr Rebecca Sandover 
Session sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group

The increase of community food projects based in the UK and globally affords the opportunity for academics to explore the emergent governance of these projects. Whilst ad hoc place-based groups emerge in specific locales, the spread of formalised community food focused projects with national and global reach also impact localised communities. These differing spheres of operation may affect the potential of these projects to impact policy and praxis and their potential to disseminate food knowledge. Therefore this session seeks to explore the role of community food projects as catalysts in generating food knowledge and in shaping access to food governance. In what way do the differing levels of formalised structures and reach change how community food projects operate? We welcome perspectives that-

• Critically examine community food projects as actants for enabling food justice
• How the governance of local food projects affect their engagements with local communities and shaping policy
• Examine the tensions between food knowledge diffusion and the differing modes of organisation of community food projects
• Critically examine the role of place itself as a melting pot of opportunities for access to food and generating food knowledge
• Question the extent to which community food projects transcend place boundaries to generate wider impacts and cross the seeming gulf of urban vs rural food research
• Examine the modes by which academics research community food projects and the role of the practitioner-researcher
• Explore community food projects and web 2.0: the role of online spaces in assisting the spread of food projects

Proposals for papers, with a title, a short abstract of 250 words and your full contact details, should be sent to one of the co-organisers by Wednesday 17th February – Dr Mags Adams <M.Adams [at]> & Dr Rebecca Sandover <rebeccasandover [at]>

CFP: Connecting Food System Sustainability and Resilience through a Geographical Lens: RGS-IBG London 2016

Convenors: Damian Maye (University of Gloucestershire) & James Kirwan (University of Gloucestershire)
Sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group & the Rural Geography Research Group

The aim of this session is to connect thinking and theoretical perspectives from resilience theory with food system sustainability approaches, discourses and assessment methodologies. Contributions from human and physical geography are encouraged, including evaluating the role and application of geographical perspectives and concepts that emphasise and apply resilience thinking in relation to geographies of food production and consumption.

The external pressures driving the agri-food system are widely documented (e.g. climate change, price volatility, food insecurity, urbanisation), and procedures, processes and methods to evaluate food system sustainability well-known within agri-food geography (e.g. LCA, metabolic analysis, multi-criteria assessments, participatory analysis). However, critiques are emerging about the usefulness of sustainability as a framing concept for food system analysis. Missing within such assessments is an appreciation of the dynamic properties of sustainability performance and agri-food system transformation, and the need to link sustainability assessments to frameworks and approaches that capture change at a system level, as well as connect food provisioning with the use of key resources such as land, water and energy.

Resilience thinking has much to offer in this regard, particularly through its focus on systems as having dynamic properties and its emphasis on drivers of change. Taking this perspective enables, for example, connections to be made between coping/adaption strategies and mechanisms, as well as ideas related to social and community resilience and resilience ethics. This session provides an opportunity to explore how resilience thinking can be applied to geographies of agri-food sustainability and transformation, thereby facilitating resilience and adaptation, across a range of geographical perspectives and scales.

Papers might address one or more of the following themes:

· Applying resilience thinking and related concepts to issues including vulnerability, transition, risk management, adaptation, and transformation

· Approaches to resilience, such as: socio-ecological resilience, system resilience, regional resilience, social resilience, community resilience, and farm-level resilience

· Sustainability science, post-normal science and resilience thinking

· Resilience perspectives as a means to ‘open up’ agri-food sustainability concepts

· Collective responsibility and resilience ethics

· Drivers of change and coping strategies

· Case studies and methodologies that examine resilience across the food chain at a range of geographical scales and spatial contexts, including the Global North and the Global South

· AFNs, civic food networks, urban agriculture and resilience

· Connections between food, other key resources and resilience framings

· The role of policy in promoting agri-food sustainability through resilience.

Deadline for submitting abstracts is Monday 8th February 2016: 

Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words and proposed titles (clearly stating name, institution, and contact details) to Dr Damian Maye <dmaye [at]>.

CFP: Agrofood systems: from political ecology to political technology: RGS-IBG London 2016

Convenor: Imogen Bellwood-Howard

Sponsored by the Food Geographies working group and Rural Geography research group

Agrofood studies has evolved from a political economy to a networked perspective that addresses power in a relational fashion, allowing agency to emerge from constellations of social, economic, technological and natural components. Drawing on Actor Network Theory (ANT), this approach attempts to overcome separations between nature, culture and society. ANT emerged from Science and Technology Studies (STS), to which this session relates: it seeks to interrogate the role of technology in agrofood systems. Technologies are not merely material implements, but include interpretations of ways to use these and to perform agrofood systems without them. Issues of power and control are folded into physical objects such as seed, agrochemicals, vehicles and packaging. STS provides language that describes how such technologies are ‘re-scripted’ in diverse social contexts, performing multiple tasks for different actors. This vocabulary permits examination of the recursive co-construction of technology, society and nature. More generally, food systems comprise complex nexuses between humans, animals, plants and technology; rural-urban and development gradients, and production, processing, marketing and consumption.

The session invites papers that consider the technology-politics nexus in agrofood systems. Of particular interest are STS, ANT, technoscience, assemblage and Political Ecology perspectives, but submissions that consider these themes from any theoretical standpoint are welcome.

Please submit abstracts of 250 words to me, Imogen Bellwood-Howard, < ibellwoodh [at]> by 10th February 2015.

I’ll inform presenters by 19th February 2016, when I’ll submit the session. With questions about the session, please contact me. More information about the RGS conference can be found at

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