Lessons for Working Collaboratively — How to make a just food future: alternative foodways for a changing world

Agatha Herman reflects on the closing workshop of the How to make a just food future: alternative foodways for a changing world conference sponsored by University of Sheffield Sustainable Food Futures, The RGS-IBG Food Geographies Working Group, and The Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers. 

In this final workshop of the How to Make a Just Food Future conference, participants (appropriately) worked collaboratively to identify common themes in their experiences of collaborative working. This started through paired discussions around past frustrations, successes, challenges and pleasures, which resulted in key statements around these being written on post-its. These were stuck to [click on link to read more]

Lessons for Working Collaboratively — HOW TO MAKE A JUST FOOD FUTURE: alternative foodways for a changing world
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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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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.  

Urban Agriculture: Offering hope and health through horticulture

Session Convenors
Rebecca St. Clair (r.st.clair@mmu.ac.uk)
Dr Mike Hardman (m.hardman@salford.ac.uk)

The potential benefits of Urban Agriculture (UA) and in particular the relationship between food cultivation and health are gaining recognition across academia and policy (Horst, McClintock, & Hoey, 2017; Howe, Viljoen, & Bohn, 2005; Mulligan, Archbold, Baker, Elton, & Cole, 2018). In the UK, Social Prescribing (SP), a process that links patients to “nonmedical sources of support in the community and voluntary sector” (Pilkington, Loef, & Polley, 2017), is one mechanism by which the therapeutic benefits of UA are formally integrated into care. SP is currently experiencing a resurgence, with SP activities such as UA offering the potential to release capacity in general practice, implying cost savings for the NHS (NHS England, n.d.).

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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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Unsettling “ethical food” through mobility and migration

Convenor
Andrew Wilbur, Seoul National University. awilbur@snu.ac.kr

For the last two decades, ethical approaches to production, distribution and consumption of food have commanded a significant amount of attention for scholars across several disciplines. Much of this academic labour consists of defining, critiquing and refining the notion of what constitutes the ‘ethical’. This session seeks to draw on that scholarship while exploring how ethical concepts are complicated by spatial factors, particularly mobility and migration. How, in other words, does physical relocation affect otherwise fixed or stable notions of the ethical? What aspects of food ethics become, mutable, redefined or invigorated via relocation? This would apply to the production, distribution and consumption of food, and could involve such topics as:

  • Shifting ethical standards between city and countryside
  • Culturally contingent ethical standards vs. a Eurocentric “universalism”
  • Immigrants’ experiences of negotiating ethical standards in foreign countries
  • Immigrant-based food projects that seek to establish ethical practices
  • Gentrification and the transience of food ethics
  • Forced migration and disrupted ethical practices
  • Mobile populations and changing food taboos
  • Research strategies for working with temporary and/or transient populations

Inquiries should be addressed to the session-organiser.
Deadline for submitting abstracts is Tuesday 12th February 2019.

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