How to Make a Just Food Future: Alternative Foodways for a Changing World

University of Sheffield, UK, 8th-10th July 2019
Sponsored by the RGS-IBG Food Geographies Working Group (FGWG), the University of Sheffield and the University of Sheffield Research Institute for Sustainable Food Futures (SheFF).

Conference website:
https://justfoodfutures2019.wordpress.com

Over 2.5 days, the conference will include practitioner- academic- artist -governance panels, paper sessions, field visits, creative responses and more. We are very pleased to announce Professor Julian Agyeman, from Tufts University as our keynote speaker, plus interventions from Gary Stott (Incredible Edible) and Barbara Benish, internationally recognised artist, environmental campaigner and farmer. ‘How to Make a Just Food Future’ draws on FGWG members’ Participatory and Action Research connections with food partnerships local to Sheffield and from across the UK, as well as with UK wide bodies addressing current food issues, from food surplus redistribution to post-Brexit UK food production and much more. Drawing on ideas of social justice, care, political ecologies, translocality, intersectionality and the role of non-humans to offer timely and innovative interventions, it will develop spaces for collaboration and conversation in which to imagine socially just food futures and map out the personal and collective journeys that are needed to reach them.

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Workshop: Cultures, Behaviours and Histories of Agriculture, Food, and Nutrition, UKRI GCRF Collective Programme

08 March 2019, Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Rd, Bloomsbury, London NW1 2BE  

This workshop is the first part of an interdisciplinary programme which will support the development of international research partnerships focussed on the intersection of culture, history, and society with all stages of the food systems chain, from production through to consumption and policy, in Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).

The Programme aims to contribute to the development of the GCRF Food Systems challenge portfolio as a part of the UKRI GCRF Collective Programme. It is designed to be a part of a challenge-led, internationally collaborative and interdisciplinary programme delivered by UK Research and Innovation and steered by the GCRF Challenge Leaders. Whilst the AHRC is leading on this programme, it is intended to support cross-disciplinary working and applicants from all relevant disciplines are encouraged to participate.

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From disruptive to emancipatory politics: transforming food governance

Session convenors:
Ana Moragues Faus, Cardiff University (MoraguesFausA1@cardiff.ac.uk)
Terry Marsden, Cardiff University (MarsdenTK@cardiff.ac.uk)

Current political events – from raise of nationalistic and populist movements to the growth of support for post-colonial, feminist and anti-austerity perspectives – present a rupture with managerial and the so-called post-democratic politics [1–3]. The food system embodies this highly politicised arena which, to date, still results in increasing levels of food poverty and health inequality, environmental degradation and increasing concentration of power [4–6]. For example in Europe, policy synergies between a private-interest governance regime and a corporatist EU state-based regulatory regime coexist with an ever-growing number of alternative food networks and food justice movements [7–9]. These fragmented governance landscapes require deeper examination to understand how current disruptive events – in the form of multiple crises, Brexit, social mobilisations or creative destruction events – can be harnessed into more emancipatory politics.

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Sponsored sessions at RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2019

The call for papers on Food Geographies Working Group sponsored sessions is now open. Here is an overview of all the session we are supporting at this year's conference. You will find more details on each call for papers by clicking on the title of the session. Any inquiries should be directed to responsible session conveners.  
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Transforming Agricultural Learning: from troubled pasts to pedagogies of hope

Session Conveners
Hannah Pitt (PittH2@cardiff.ac.uk)
Alice Taherzadeh (TaherzadehA@cardiff.ac.uk)
Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University.

Any hope of sustainable food futures requires suitable systems of education and training to support agricultural production. Traditional state-led agricultural extension has received declining public investment, and been criticised for failing to address the needs of sustainable, alternative, localised agricultural practices. The agricultural knowledge base in Europe is also troubled by an aging farmer population, and lack of new entrants. However, community food and farming models, organisations, and unions are attracting a new generation interested in sustainable production, and enhancing their knowledge through horizontal or place-based learning. Innovative pedagogical approaches include popular and political education, those inspired by indigenous cultures, use of online platforms and open-source knowledge models. These sessions focus on actors hoping for sustainable, just, regenerative agricultural practices, and their learning practices. We are interested in case studies and theoretical perspectives which shed light on the challenges around learning in the context of agricultural production, and potential solutions.

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Cultivating hope while getting into trouble with Community Food Initiatives

Session Convenors: 
Esther Veen (esther.veen@wur.nl)
Oona Morrow (oona.morrow@wur.nl),
Stefan Wahlen (stefan.wahlen@wur.nl)
Anke de Vrieze (anke.devrieze@wur.nl)

Community food initiatives (CFIs), such as community gardens or food waste initiatives, are often framed as hopeful solutions to our troubled food system. Yet the actual interrelations of hope and trouble are rarely interrogated in locally specific contexts. Hope and trouble are often employed in partial and limiting ways. CFIs are critiqued for being too hopeful, reproducing existing troubles (e.g. racism, power, privilege, and exclusion). Other readings strategically avoid the dominance of trouble, to leave space for hope and possibility. Neither approach is sufficient. Moreover, binary effects of hope and trouble can create methodological tensions that affect our own abilities to engage in action research that is both critical and reparative, hopeful and troubling.

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Public food procurement – promoting population health, food security and ecosystem resilience.

Convenor
Mark Stein markstein2010@live.co.uk

Public food procurement is a significant part of overall food consumption in many countries – buying food for schools nurseries, hospitals and elderly care. The session will discuss sustainable food procurement policies aimed at:

  • Encouraging healthy eating
  • Minimising global warming
  • Promoting animal welfare and biodiversity
  • Reducing food waste and meat usage
  • Supporting local and regional food producers – thus safeguarding food security
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Hopeful Governance for Good Rural Food Economies and Environments

Conveners
Eifiona Thomas Lane, School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University
Lois Mansfield, Department of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies, University of Cumbria
Rebecca Jones, School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University

Much academic and activist time, energy and effort have been directed at changing local food economies and towards developing good food opportunities whether through community or business focussed interventions/projects. However recent research emphasis has been predominantly on the more urbanised food economy. Current alternative visions for many rural spaces have been challenged in terms of providing a clear route-map towards sustainable food futures that delivers local food access and livelihoods. This session will address questions of rural production and explores new supply chain possibilities. This will include research on good and hopeful governance in changing times as well as empirical studies of case studies of best practice from both upland and more productive agri-food /agri diversification and community developments e.g. Charters, Good Food projects, Food Councils and Food Hubs. Learning for building sustainable communities from across projects and networks and a range of scales and global contexts is a key aim of this action research focussed session. This two-part session especially welcomes practitioner and policy-based presentations and new researchers and aims to be as inclusive and interdisciplinary as possible.  

Troubling Platforms: Disruption, mediation and transformation in digital food geographies

Session Convenors:
Jeremy BRICE, London School of Economics, j.brice@lse.ac.uk
Tanja SCHNEIDER, University of St Gallen, tanja.schneider@unisg.ch
Sebastian PROST, Newcastle University, s.prost2@newcastle.ac.uk

Food is increasingly caught up in complex economies and ecologies of digital platforms, from online takeaway delivery services and surplus food redistribution apps to diet trackers, social media networks and traceability tools. Elaborate assemblages of software, interfaces and devices mediate the circulation of both foodstuffs themselves and the knowledges, affects and values which accompany them – creating and coordinating novel socio-technical networks of interaction and exchange which are rapidly (if unevenly) reconfiguring spatialities and temporalities of food provisioning, politics and consumption.

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