CFP: Critical Foodscapes: what does the future hold for urban gardening?

A One Day Conference on July 7th 2016 at the University of Warwick, UK
Confirmed Keynote: Dr Chiara Tornaghi (Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, UK)

Urban gardening has long promised radical alternatives to industrialised food production and the organisation of modern urban spaces. Yet despite recent increases in popularity and a conspicuous proliferation of its forms, urban gardening appears to have had minimal material influence on how we eat or how we live.

It is now time to ask what the future holds for urban gardening. What evidence is emerging of urban gardening’s social and environmental impacts? Can such forms really mitigate some of the major crises of our times – from mental illness and unemployment to the unsustainability of our food systems – or do they remain a fringe concern? And what changes – at the level of policy or grassroots mobilisation (or otherwise) – are required to maximise the impact and reach of future iterations of urban gardening?

This conference seeks to put critical – but constructive – pressure on some of the assumptions which underlie current theory and practice of urban gardening; as such, the conference organisers welcome papers encompassing a broad range of approaches and perspectives (whether research-, practitioner- or participant-orientated) considering the past, present and future of urban gardening. The conference will take the UK as its main focus but will accommodate international perspectives where possible. Papers might address, though not be limited to, the following topics:

  • Community gardens
  • Community supported agriculture
  • Urban and peri-urban food production
  • The cultural representation of urban gardens
  • Urban gardening and…

– local/national food policy
– grassroots activism
– food production
– mental health
– town planning
– education
– environmental sustainability
– economic sustainability
– emergency food aid

Please send 300 word abstracts and 100 word biographies to Dr C Maughan (IAS Early Career Fellow, University of Warwick) by Monday 11th April

Following the conference, speakers and delegates are encouraged to submit papers to a proposed special issue with the journal,Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, subject to the peer-review process.

For more information, updates and to register see the conference website.

CFP: A strategizing platform on urban political agroecology

Sponsor: Food Geographies Working Group, RGS
Session convenors : Barbara Van Dyck <barbaravdyck [at]> and Chiara Tornaghi <chiara.tornaghi [at]>

One of the more recent and potentially progressive contributions to the field of agri-food knowledge production is how researchers and peasants seek to reconnect and transcend the narrow boundaries of conventional approaches and academic disciplines by being open to–and inclusive of–different actors, knowledges, experiences and opinions in the knowledge co-production process. Especially concerning the cooperation between researchers and peasants, political agroecology and dialogo de saberes have emerged as promising concepts in the construction of more just food systems. This raises important questions for our work as scholarly food activists in European urban contexts. How does political agroecology distinguish and inform knowledge production in urban contexts? Why would we talk about urban political agroecology at all? What characterizes processes of knowledge production, circulation and reproduction of urban political agroecology? Which actors and knowledges are mobilized? What role for scholar activists and action research in political urban agroecology? And what does this mean regarding strategies and tactics to move towards urban food systems in tune with the value and principles of agroecology and food sovereignty.

In this strategizing panel, urban (scholarly) activists from different collectives, cities and universities will jointly reflect on how to mutually support each other methodologically in our transdisciplinary work in different urban localities.

Please send a motivation of why you would want to participate in this strategizing platform in max 300 words to <barbaravdyck [at]> and <chiara.tornaghi [at]> by Wednesday the 17th of February.

MA in Food Security and Food Justice: Sheffield

The 2016/17 academic year will be the second year of our very successful MA in Food Security and Food Justice.  The programme is unique in a number of ways:

  • It offers international, interdisciplinary, and multi-scalar perspectives on the issues inherent when striving for food-security and food-justice.
  • Professional and entrepreneurial skills and a work-based dissertation aimed at enhancing the employability of those wishing to go into employment after completion of the degree.
  • Research training needed to pursue a PhD
  • A core field course to Hong Kong (included in the fees), which allows students to contextualise their learning in a real location as well as engage with a variety of people and organisation located within the SAR.
  • Flexible options that enable the student to shape their training in ways that suit their interests.
For more information about the MA please see:
The course also has a student blog and you can see what the students have to say here:

Envisioning the Future of Food Across North-South Divides: Transregional Food Networks and Movements: Berlin Workshop

1-3 December 2016

Venue: Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin, Wallotstraße 14, 14193 Berlin

Convenor: Sarah Ruth Sippel (Universität Leipzig)
Co-convenors: Nicolette Larder (University of New England),
Cornelia Reiher (Freie Universität Berlin) and Felipe Roa-Clavijo (University of Oxford)

While a vital part of our everyday lives, the future of food is insecure: agriculture and food are currently being shaped by the culmination of multiple crises related to new energy policies, financial turmoil, and climatic hazards. Prevailing food insecurity and the question how agriculture and food should be organised within society are at the very heart of food networks and movements, which have been emerging all over the world in recent years. While all aim at developing alternatives to the current food system, research on these networks and movements together with the existing interlinkages, particularly when it comes to North-South divides, rarely are brought together. This workshop aims at addressing these transregional interlinkages and emerging synergies between those actors and groups of people who are building alternative food relationships in different parts of the world.

Today, food networks and movements in various contexts are facing new challenges arising from the increasing complexity of the food system, such as the increasing engagement of financial actors in agrifood. However, they are also making use of new transregional spaces that are offering new possibilities for transregional networking and alliance building. The increasing degree of international connectedness has manifold implications in relation to the spread of knowledge about power structures in global food production, experiences in terms of campaigning and advocation, as well as the exchange of alternative visions of agriculture and food production, such as food sovereignty or how to achieve food justice.

The workshop has three main questions to understand alternative food networks and movements, especially those across North-South divides:

1) What kinds of alternatives to the current food system are being developed in different world regions and what are their visions of agriculture and food? This question is discussed by bringing together empirical insights on food networks and movements from different regional contexts – from Latin America as the ‘cradle’ of the food sovereignty movement, to Japan where consumer movements have become particularly powerful after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, to Australia and Germany where the idea of food sovereignty has more recently been picked up and is being brought into national debates about food.

2) What kinds of transregional synergies are emerging within these contexts, how are transregional alliances being organised, and what are the opportunities and challenges of these interconnections? This question is explored by considering two major topics that have fostered transregional networking and alliances in recent years: the increasing investments in natural resources such as land, on the one hand, and the new round of preferential trade agreements (e.g., TTIP, TPP) challenging food standards, on the other.

3) How can the intersections between these different fields of expertise be used in a fruitful way to improve our understanding of the future of food? This question is addressed by considering the conceptual challenges of studying transregional food networks and movements from interdisciplinary perspectives that combine insights from various disciplines (e.g., sociology, human geography, anthropology) with area studies perspectives and transregional approaches.

The workshop aims at bringing together researchers who will contribute both empirical and analytical insights from different world regions while stressing the transregional synergies and cross-continental inspirations. We thus look for innovative and empirically grounded as well as conceptual contributions. The workshop will further address a broader audience of government officials, representatives of civil society organisations, food practitioners, and activists. Funds will be available to support participants presenting invited talks.

The workshop is part of the strategic cooperation between the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung – Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland. It will take place at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin from 1 to 3 December 2016. You are invited to submit an abstract of 300 words by 30 April 2016 to sippel [at]


Sarah Ruth Sippel
Universität Leipzig
sippel [at]

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