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
Continue reading “Public food procurement – promoting population health, food security and ecosystem resilience.”

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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How to Make a Just Food Future: Hopeful collaborations transforming local food partnerships

Session Convenors
Megan Blake, University of Sheffield m.blake@SHEFFIELD.AC.UK
Agatha Herman, Cardiff University HermanA@cardiff.ac.uk
Rebecca Sandover, University of Exeter R.Sandover@exeter.ac.uk

Two RGS-IBG 2019 sessions will follow up themes explored in FGWG’s University of Sheffield conference that reflect on a range of issues related to ‘How to Make a Just Food Future’.  The linked sessions will bring together academics, practitioners and policymakers to reflect on the issues facing food systems, explore the potential for change to emerge from local, regional and trans-local food policy initiatives, investigate the role of the researcher in supporting and analysing these processes and setting out the limitations of these approaches.  A more integrative approach to food policy thinking is being progressed, it is argued, by city, regional and trans-local initiatives that enable policymakers to work with civil society actors on common issues (Betsill & Bulkeley 2007, Morgan & Sonnino 2010, Moragues-Faus & Carroll 2018). Globalised and trans-local networks of civil society food actors, such as Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, who work for more just and sustainable policies, are emerging as coherent voices for a reconfigured food system (Sonnino et al. 2016, Moragues-Faus & Morgan 2015).

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Food geographies ‘in’, ‘of’ and ‘for’ the Anthropocene

Convenors:
Prof Damian Maye (University of Gloucestershire) dmaye@glos.ac.uk;
Dr Ben Coles (University of Leicester) bfc2@leicester.ac.uk;
Prof David Evans (University of Bristol) d.m.evans@bristol.ac.uk

The “Anthropocene” is an important and much-debated concept in physical and environmental geography that has also attracted considerable attention in human geography in recent years (Castree, 2017). At its core, it reflects not just how humans impact on the non-human world but also how human activities fold into earth-surface systems (ibid). Given this burgeoning disciplinary interest in the Anthropocene, there is a surprising lack of critical engagement with the concept in food and rural geography, despite some exceptions (e.g. Beacham, 2018; Sexton, 2018). This is surprising for a number of reasons, not least given the ways in which food and farming are currently implicated in changes to the earth’s biophysical and chemical processes – changes that will likely have significant impacts on not just the availability of food, but on how the relationships between agriculture, food practices and food can be understood. Conceptual risks of conflating the Anthropocene with climate change notwithstanding, agri-food production and consumption is a significant contributor to climate change.

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