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:

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.

Continue reading “How to Make a Just Food Future: Alternative Foodways for a Changing World”

Food Geographies session proposals for RGS-IBG AC 2019

The Food Geographies Working Group (FGWG) invites session proposals for the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019 being held in London from Wednesday 28th August to Friday 30th August 2019. Professor Hester Parr will chair the conference with the theme of‘geographies of trouble / geographies of hope’.  The deadline for session proposals is Monday 7th January 2019. Proposals for, or  questions about, FGWG sponsored sessions should be sent to Dr Michael Hardman via m.hardman [at]

Continue reading “Food Geographies session proposals for RGS-IBG AC 2019”

Enormous amounts of food are wasted during manufacturing – here’s where it occurs

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Megan BlakeUniversity of Sheffield


The volume of edible food that is wasted is staggering. In 2017, the UN estimated that almost a third of all food that is produced is discarded. Edible food makes up approximately 1.3 gigatonnes of this (one gigatonne is a billion tonnes). For comparison, one tonne of wasted food is about the equivalent of 127 large plastic bin bags. This not only represents a phenomenal loss in terms of food that could feed people, but also a loss in resources such as water, labour power, soil nutrients, transportation energy and so forth.  Continue reading

Symposium: Sharing the Burden of Supermarket Food Waste. Towards Sustainability and a Circular Economy?

Wednesday 27th June 2018,
Oastler Building, University of Huddersfield
Symposium Chairs: Dr John Lever, Dr Fiona Cheetham and Prof. Morven McEachern

This one-day symposium is hosted by SURGE’s Sustainable & Resilient Communities research group in Huddersfield Business School. The conference aims to bring together NGOs, business and academics interested in the area of food waste and the circular economy. The circular economy is gaining momentum and is seen by some as solving the issues created by our ‘traditional’ linear economy (take, make, use, dispose… with waste and pollution at every stage). This symposium will explore how, to what extent, and in what ways donations of food waste helps to address the challenges posed by sustainability and the notion of a circular economy.  Continue reading “Symposium: Sharing the Burden of Supermarket Food Waste. Towards Sustainability and a Circular Economy?”

Call for papers: ‘Critical reflections on the changing landscapes of food waste’

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, 28-31 August 2018, Cardiff, UK.

Sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group (FGWG)

Session convenors: Dr Jane Midgley (School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape, Newcastle University) and Dr Joanne Swaffield (School of Geography, Politics & Sociology, Newcastle University)

There is an emerging consensus on the severity of food waste as a global problem and the necessity for change. The values that are espoused in preventing and reducing food waste (economic, environmental, social, moral) have become encapsulated by the creation of a global food loss and waste accounting standard; pledges by the food industry to reduce the amount of food going to waste; growing regulatory requirements, and wider industry and civil society initiatives supporting the redistribution of surplus food to those who are hungry.

This session seeks to critically explore these responses, their inherent tensions and make visible the diversity of practices that are collectively driving changes in local and global food waste landscapes. We welcome both empirical and theoretically informed papers that engage with one or more of the following:

  • The discursive constructions of food waste and how this informs the material’s governance – recognising both policy and political landscapes of action and activism
  • How the shifting categorisations of food as it transitions towards waste inform how actors align with or challenge these terms and values e.g. the articulation of food ‘rescue’, ‘interception’ or ‘surplus redistribution’
  • The importance of accounting and accountability in mobilising actions.

Please send abstracts of up to 250 words, along with your paper title, author affiliation and contact details to both Jane Midgley ( and Jo Swaffield ( by Friday 9th February 2018. 

Full details on the RGS-IBG AC 2018 conference can be found here and information about the RGS-IBG FGWG can be found here.


‘How can we link people to healthy local food?’ #WorldEnvironmentDay special

June 5th is Wolrd Environment Day. For the occasion, we are featuring #WorldEnvironmentDay specials on our blog in order to raise awareness on the role of food in environmental thinking in dedicated blog posts. In this blog post, we share insights from prof. Stewart Barr (University of Exeter) during the ‘Feeding Exeter’ workshop on April 22nd, 2017 and organized by Exeter Food Network (EFN) Continue reading “‘How can we link people to healthy local food?’ #WorldEnvironmentDay special”

‘Why SURPLUS food is important’ #WorldEnvironmentDay special

Juen 5th is Wolrd Environment Day. For the occasion, we are featuring #WorldEnvironmentDay specials on our blog in order to raise awareness on the role of food in environmental thinking in dedicated blog posts. The first blog, by Dr. Megan Blake (University of Sheffield), is on the importance of surplus food for feeding vulnerable people.

There have been a number of arguments in the press and on social media arguing that the use of surplus food to feed food insecure people is at best only a short-term solution and at worst harmful (e.g., Caraher 2017).  I would agree that the hunger that is caused by poverty is not only not being addressed by the UK government (see Blake 2015, and a more recent update of the article published by GMPA) but in some cases is being enhanced by current government policy (e.g., a benefits system that has built in delays, draconian sanctions, programme cuts that impact on the most vulnerable). In reading the argument, however, a number of issues stand out as needing further clarification and interrogation.  Firstly, there is a lack of understanding about food surplus in terms of what it is.  Secondly, there is misconception about how food surplus becomes food for bellies as it travels through the charity sector. Thirdly, there is an overly narrow understanding of the value of surplus food both for charities and those whom they support. These issues are explored in this blog post Continue reading “‘Why SURPLUS food is important’ #WorldEnvironmentDay special”


The Food Geographies Working Group (FGWG) invites proposals at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016 being held at The Royal Geographical Society (with Institute if British Geographers) in London from Wednesday 31 August to Friday 2 September 2016. Professor Peter Jackson will chair the conference with the theme ‘Nexus Thinking’:

“The aim of nexus thinking is to address the interdependencies, tensions and trade-offs between different environmental and social domains – an approach to which geographers might feel an inherent attraction. Rather than seeing energy, food and water resources as separate systems, for example, nexus thinking focuses on their interconnections, favouring an integrated approach that moves beyond national, sectoral, policy and disciplinary silos to identify more efficient, equitable and sustainable use of scarce resources.”

You can find out more HERE.
In keeping with this theme we would particularly welcome sessions exploring:

*The power of nexus thinking in opening up debates on Food Security – Grassroots approaches to promoting Food Security – Challenging discourses on Food Security

*Food waste: a lens on systemic food issues.  Boosting the message: Food Waste, celebrity chefs and visual culture

*Bringing Food Justice to the table –The role of Experiential Food Knowledge in promoting food access –The power of online networks in extending Global Food Voices and global food networks

*Exploring civil society-social science collaborations and their power to transform food knowledges –Social Food Movements as agents of change

*Policy and Praxis in seeding food change

However, we are also open to sessions that engage with food geographies more broadly. A summary of the group’s interests can be found HERE.

Sessions may take the form of presented papers, panels, practitioner forums, discussions or workshops. Innovative sessions and formats are encouraged.

Proposals should include:

(i) Title of session

(ii) Name of Co-sponsoring groups, if applicable

(iii) Name and Contact Details for Session Convenors

(iv) Abstract, outlining scope of session – 200 words max.

(v) Number of session timeslots that are sought – this year session may not normally occupy more than 2 time slots

(vi) Indication of preferred organisation of session, e.g. 4 x 20min presentation, plus 20min discussion or 5 x 15min presentation, with 5min question for each, we welcome creative formats. Sessions last 1 hour 40 mins

(vii) Indication of any non-standard arrangements, please note there will not be support for Skype or other forms of distance participation at AC2016. However, individual session organisers are welcome to incorporate presentations in this format into their sessions if they feel confident they can do so within the IT setup provided (all rooms will have laptop, projector, screen, speakers and internet connection).

The deadline for proposals is Friday 8th January 2016.

Proposals for, or questions about, FGWG sponsored sessions should be sent to Dr. Rebecca Sandover.  Email: rebeccasandover [at]

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