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.

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Urban Agriculture: Offering hope and health through horticulture

Session Convenors
Rebecca St. Clair (
Dr Mike Hardman (

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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Urban Agriculture and Food Collection

A Boost for Urban Agriculture and Food learning and Activism at the D. G. Ivey Library of New College, University of Toronto

The D. G. Ivey Library at New College, University of Toronto, has acquired a unique collection in the field of urban agriculture and food studies. The collection, made available through the generous donation of Joe Nasr, co-founder of the Urban Agriculture Network, comprises a wide range of materials focusing on urban agriculture, small-scale farming, food activism, and food-related policies around the world. It includes rare and difficult-to-find books, magazines, journals, personal papers, policy documents, and reports by governments and non-governmental organizations, most of them published between 1970 and 1999. The collection is named in honor (and includes papers and correspondence) of the late Jac Smit – an early advocate of urban agriculture – acquired while working around the world for agencies such as the International Rescue Committee and the United Nations Development Program (for more information about Jac Smit, please visit

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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]

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Call for papers on “Critical perspectives on Edible Urban Landscapes”

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Cardiff, 2018

Session sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group

Session Convenors: Rebecca St. Clair (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Michael Hardman (University of Salford)

In recent years, Urban Agriculture (UA) literature has moved beyond an advocacy perspective with numerous critical and food justice scholars highlighting potentially problematic aspects of the practice (e.g. Heynen, Kurtz, & Trauger, 2012; McClintock, 2017; Tornaghi, 2014). Authors have drawn attention to the potential for UA initiatives to contribute towards the stimulation of gentrification and to further entrench neoliberal structures through the provision of services traditionally offered by the state (DeLind, 2014; Ghose & Pettygrove, 2014), while a characteristically heavy reliance upon volunteer labour has raised questions regarding the practice’s role in the development of a more socially just food system (Rosol, 2012). Furthermore, while UA is recognised for its associated therapeutic, health, community and social benefits, the significance of its impact on urban food systems has been questioned (Bell & Cerulli, 2012) and it is unclear whether cities – particularly those in the Global North – can effectively feed their citizens through the practice of UA.

This session seeks to explore critical perspectives of UA research and would particularly (but not exclusively) welcome presentations on the following areas:

  • The success of funded institution-led UA projects (as compared with grassroots activities)
  • The nature and use of dynamic city spaces – the potential for temporary or ‘meanwhile’ urban growing sites
  • Productive urban landscapes – the ability of UA to feed cities
  • UA and food poverty – the potential for productive urban landscapes to contribute towards a more just food system and to alleviate urban food insecurity
  • UA and volunteering – the role of UA in empowering communities (or otherwise)

Please send abstracts of a maximum of 250 words to Rebecca St. Clair ( and Michael Hardman ( by 4pm on Friday 9th February.


Bell, S., & Cerulli, C. (2012). Emerging community food production and pathways for urban landscape transitions. Emergence: Complexity and Organization, 14(1), 31.

DeLind, L. B. (2014). Where have all the houses (among other things) gone? Some critical reflections on urban agriculture. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 30(1), 3-7. doi:10.1017/S1742170513000525

Ghose, R., & Pettygrove, M. (2014). Urban Community Gardens as Spaces of Citizenship. Antipode, 46(4), 1092-1112. doi:10.1111/anti.12077

Heynen, N., Kurtz, H. E., & Trauger, A. (2012). Food Justice, Hunger and the City. Geography Compass, 6(5), 304-311. doi:10.1111/j.1749-8198.2012.00486.x

McClintock, N. (2017). Cultivating (a) Sustainability Capital: Urban Agriculture, Ecogentrification, and the Uneven Valorization of Social Reproduction. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 1-12. doi:10.1080/24694452.2017.1365582

Rosol, M. (2012). Community Volunteering as Neoliberal Strategy? Green Space Production in Berlin. Antipode, 44(1), 239-257. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8330.2011.00861.x

Tornaghi, C. (2014). Critical geography of urban agriculture. Progress in Human Geography, 38(4), 551-567.

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