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]>.

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