Wednesday, March 13 2019, at 1.30 pm CET Camilo Lozano will defend his PhD-thesis ‘Understanding food systems’ change: the making and the practicing of the school food reform in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil’.
Wednesday, March 13 2019, at 1.30 pm CET Camilo Lozano will defend his PhD-thesis ‘Understanding food systems’ change: the making and the practicing of the school food reform in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil’.
We invite you to attend the CSPS Critical Food Studies Speaker Series on March 19th, featuring Emma Roe and Paul Hurley (University of Southampton). Their research explores the role of gender and care in sustainable diets.
When: 19 March 2019 15.30-17.30
Where: Leeuwenborch, lecture hall C 62
15.30-15.40 Walk-in with coffee
15.40-15.45 Introduction and welcome (Dr Stefan Wahlen, CSPS Foodscapes Cluster)
15.45-17.00 Sustainable diets, masculinities and environmental caring: Gendered understandings of movements towards sustainable agro-food practices, Dr Paul Hurley & Dr Emma Roe, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton
17.00-17.30 Discussion with drinks and bites
The impact of industrial scale food production poses significant threats to environmental sustainability. Despite the current rising trends of veganism, ‘flexitarianism’ and ‘reducetarianism’ in some areas, global levels of animal-based protein consumption are on the rise – between 1993-2013 global population increased by 29%, yet global demand for animals’ products increased by 62% (Food and Agriculture Organization (2014) State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014: In Brief (FAO, Rome)). The IPCC has recently suggested that dietary shifts (reducing meat consumption as well as shortening supply chains and lessening food waste), could play a significant factor in climate change mitigation (IPCC (2018) SR1.5).
An often overlooked dimension of sustainability issues is that of gender (see, for instance, UNFCCC’s work on Women and Climate Change).The performance of diverse masculinities is receiving increased attention more widely, following the popular critical label of ‘toxic masculinity’ and its association with a raft of negative practices from the #MeToo campaign, through to weak leadership on global environmental challenges. This is a timely moment to increase studies on the cultural, social and political dynamics that drive the performances of diverse forms of masculinity, in order to appraise how to offer more environmentally sustainable forms of living.
Recent work by Roe and Hurley in their project ‘Man Food: Exploring men’s opportunities for ‘Becoming an ecological citizen’ through protein-related food practices’, focusses explicitly on studying practices of being a man in relation to food and environmental caring. Through a series of participatory workshops, in which researchers cooked, ate and talked with groups of men, they have sought to understand more about the interaction of gendered identity norms and barriers to ecological caring and responsibility. Key findings of the project include the fact that a number of men had experienced shame and bullying about choosing vegetarian food options among groups of other men, and that others were willing to try alternatives to meat-based meals but hadn’t had the social reference points to encourage them to do so (lacking peers who didn’t eat meat, or the skills to cook vegetarian food). More recent work has begun to consider these gendered practices of food and environmental caring within the broader social and political contexts of populism, both in the UK and more widely.
We are living in the age of the celebrity farmer, in which farmers can gain “rock-star” status for their sustainable farming techniques and gastronomic partnerships – but also for their identity, self-branding, education, and marketing activities on social media (Phillpov and Goodman 2017). Social media platforms such as Instagram, and the companies that profit through them, have the potential to reinforce dominant identities and “brands.” At the same time they are also being used to make more marginalized identities, food knowledges, movements, and narratives visible (Wilson, forthcoming). The interplay between these food spaces, identities, and technologies is investigated through the concept of digital foodscapes (Goodman et al. 2017).
The digital foodscapes of agri-food work are changing the face of farming, and have the potential to upset and challenge existing stereotypes and perceptions of farm workers and rural spaces. In the U.S. for example, where 60% of farmers are foreign born (largely from Central and South America) and 30% are women, the image of farmers as white and male still dominates in mainstream media and food marketing. In a different vein, the current political landscape in the U.S. could give the (erroneous} impression of rural spaces as white, right wing and nationalist, and urban spaces as diverse, liberal and progressive. The visibility of other kinds of farmer identities in digital foodscapes may play an important role in interrupting, bringing to light, or challenging the “demographic fever dreams and fantasies” that shape perceptions of the rural and urban (Gokariskel et al.).
This research will develop comparative case studies in connection with social media accounts and hashtags that promote the activities (and identities) of women farmers (e.g. @Womenwhofarm) and queer farmers (e.g. @Queerswhofarm) on Instagram. The research will explore which identities are made visible, how, where, and for whom. While also applying feminist and queer theory to critically examine the kinds of identities and performances that gain traction and power in these digital foodscapes, and who might be excluded. The overall aim of this research is to develop a better understanding of the role that social media technologies can play in reimagining agri-food work, workers, and spaces.
Start date: Spring or Summer 2019
Questions? Please get in touch!
Supervisor: Oona Morrow (RSO) firstname.lastname@example.org
Works Cited & Further Reading:
Farm Aid: Immigration and the food system (2019) https://www.farmaid.org/blog/fact-sheet/immigration-and-the-food-system/ (last accessed 3/8/19)
Gokariskel, B., Neubert, C., & Smith, S. (2019). Demographic Fever Dreams: Fragile Masculinity and Population Politics in the Rise of the Global Right. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 44(3), 561–587.
Gokariskel et al. (2017) CALL FOR PAPERS (AAG 2017): Demographic fantasies and fever dreams: taco trucks, lesbian farmers, burkini bans, and the basket of deplorables
Gold, M. and Thompson, B. (2019) U.S. Statistics on Women and Minorities on Farms and in Rural Areas. USDA, https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/us-statistics-women-and-minorities-farms-and-rural-areas
Goodman, M. K., Johnston, J., & Cairns, K. (2017). Food, media and space: The mediated biopolitics of eating. Geoforum, 84(Supplement C), 161-168.
Jarosz, L. (2011). Nourishing women: toward a feminist political ecology of community supported agriculture in the United States. Gender, Place, and Culture, 18(3), 307–326.
Leslie, I. S. (2017). Queer farmers: Sexuality and the transition to sustainable agriculture. Rural Sociology, 82(4), 747-771
Morrow, O., Hawkins, R., & Kern, L. (2015). Feminist research in online spaces. Gender, Place & Culture, 22(August), 526–543.
Phillipov, M., & Goodman, M. K. (2017). The celebrification of farmers: celebrity and the new politics of farming. Celebrity Studies, 8(2), 346-350.
Queerswhofarm (2019) https://www.instagram.com/queerswhofarm/ (last accessed 3/8/19)
Slocum, R., & Saldanha, A. (Eds.). (2016). Geographies of race and food: Fields, bodies, markets. Routledge..
Wilson, A. (forthcoming) Vegan Instagram Influencers: A critical analysis of the discourses around food, consumerism, and responsibility. Msc Thesis: Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University
Womenwhofarm (2019) https://www.instagram.com/womenwhofarm/?hl=en (last accessed 3/8/19)
As part of a larger project to study how social movements shape the making of pesticide risk regulation, the Journal of Contemporary Asia just published our analysis of recent activism to stop aerial spraying in the Philippines. In this article, we focus on how such activism articulates different types of knowledge.
Lisette Nikol & Kees Jansen, The Politics of Counter-Expertise on Aerial Spraying: Social Movements Denouncing Pesticide Risk Governance in the Philippines, Journal of Contemporary Asia. Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1080/00472336.2018.1551962
In period 5, from March 18 till April 26, we’ll be teaching again RSO-55306 A Global Sense of Place: Place-based approaches to development. Registration for the course is open until February 17, 2019.
A Global Sense of Place is an optional interdisciplinary course on sustainable place-based development for students from various master programmes (e.g. MDR, MES, MID, MLP, MUE, MOA, MFN). The course aims to make students acquainted with interdisciplinary and place-based approaches to development. This advanced MSc course might also be of interest to PhD candidates associated with the Centre for Space, Place and Society.
By means of this course students will achieve profound understanding in key-concepts and methods on place-based sustainable development. Work from key thinkers in sustainable place-making will be critically discussed and examined on the basis of various cases. Guest speakers are invited to reflect on place-based approaches to sustainable development and illustrate these through case studies. Ultimately students will acquire a place-based perspective on development.
Language of instruction and examination is English. Classes are taught on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon. See course schedule.
Key lecturers: Joost Jongerden, Dirk Roep and Anke de Vrieze (RSO).
For more information, please contact Anke de Vrieze, email@example.com.
Cultivating hope while getting into trouble with Community Food Initiatives (CFIs)
RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London, August 28th-30th 2019
Session sponsored by: Food Geographies Working Group
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 affects of hope and trouble can create methodological tensions that effect our own abilities to engage in action research that is both critical and reparative, hopeful and troubling.
The aim of this session is to develop new methodological, theoretical, and practice-based approaches for interrogating CFIs as sites of hope and trouble. Exploring diverse organizational forms, actors, benefits, and impacts, enables an understanding of their hopes, best intentions, and generative capacities as well as their troubles, failures, and limitations. We are interested in new stories and tools for helping researchers and community food initiatives “get into trouble” in our food system.
We welcome empirically, methodologically, and/or theoretically driven papers and discussions that engage with the hope and trouble of community food initiatives, such as:
We propose a format of two successive sessions. The first session follows the general structure of paper presentations followed by time for questions and short discussions. We use the second session for more thorough in-depth discussion. The first hour will be used for a world cafe setting to discuss recurrent themes in groups. We will use the last forty minutes for a ‘talk show’: we ask a representative from each table to come forward. We will then discuss the findings of each group by way of a talk show format: one interviewer asks questions to the representatives, potentially leading to discussions or an exchange of ideas. With this set-up we hope to elicit lively discussions on the topic, from various viewpoints and entry points.
Please contact the convenors to indicate whether you would like to present a paper and/or whether you would like to participate in the world cafe. Paper abstracts due by February 1st.
Voor een deel van de leerlingen in het primair en voortgezet onderwijs werkt een schoolse omgeving soms (tijdelijk) contraproductief. Het gaat vooral om leerlingen voor wie de structuur en aanpak van een school te ingewikkeld is, kinderen die moeite hebben met sociale relaties en het in stand houden van vriendschappen, kinderen met hechtingsproblemen, kinderen die door een beperking niet uren achtereen op een stoel kunnen zitten. Kinderen dus die het moeilijk hebben met zichzelf en hun omgeving en daarom op een gegeven ogenblik niet meer naar school willen, kunnen, mogen, of durven. Voor deze groep is vaak geen passend onderwijs in de regio beschikbaar, en deze leerlingen komen vaak noodgedwongen thuis te zitten. Dit kan leiden tot moeilijk gedrag, een negatief zelfbeeld en een toekomst zonder perspectief.
Verschillende zorgboeren bieden deze leerlingen onderwijs op de boerderij. Een groep van ongeveer 20 van deze zorgboeren heeft een netwerk gevormd om ervaringen en knelpunten te delen. Problemen zijn bijvoorbeeld gebrek aan uitwisseling en onderbouwing van kennis, knellende regelgeving en de kloof tussen zorgboerderijen en scholen. Bovendien is geen goed zicht op het aantal leerlingen die onderwijs volgen op de boerderij (en hun specifieke problemen), en de ervaringen van boeren, leerlingen, ouders en scholen.
Om deze vragen te beantwoorden en uiteindelijk te komen tot een sterke, geaccepteerde en professionele onderwijssector, is de wetenschapswinkel van Wageningen UR een onderzoeksproject gestart. Binnen dit project zijn wij op zoek naar één of meerdere MSc studenten die voor een scriptie of stage onderzoek willen doen op verschillende gebieden zoals:
Een specifieke opdracht kan samen met de student worden opgesteld. Studenten zullen onderdeel worden van het wetenschapswinkelproject (stages worden begeleid door Jan Hassink van Wageningen Plant Research). Voor meer informatie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since a couple of months, I’m employed as postdoc researcher by the Rural Sociology Group and assigned to the project Urbanising in Place, a selected project of the Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI) that is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 ERA-NET Cofund scheme. Let me introduce myself to you, but I’m interested in getting to know you too! So, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
I do feel ‘at home’ at the Rural Sociology group. Surely, this might be related to the fact that I heard many good stories about Rural Sociology from people close to me… And, the work carried out by members of Rural Sociology intrigue me and motivate me to contribute to the three themes RSO focuses on: 1) the development of ecological and socially sustainable agrarian and food policies by studying the role of agricultural and rural activities, products and services in metropolitan and peri-urban regions; 2) the identification and reconfiguration of modes of connectivity between the production and consumption of food, by taking a multidimensional approach to food and reconnecting food to the social, cultural and environmental context of food provisioning practices; 3) the generation of images and narratives of ‘other’ values that build on a reappropriation of space through practices that reflect both rural-urban differences and symbiosis and overcome commoditisation of rurality. These themes link up nicely, however maybe creatively, to my previous meanderings through the landscape of social science. Looking back, the pathway that emerged through my wanderings in the fields of social psychology (MSc in 2004), sociology (Ba in 2005), and Science and Technology Studies (PhD in 2011; postdoc research since 2013) foregrounds my interests in the interwovenness of the real and imaginary, the practised and the envisioned and I look forward to apply these concepts as a lens for exploring food provisioning practices in peri-urban areas. I will further elaborate these issues within the contexts of ‘Urbanising in Place’ project. This project investigates how small-scale food provisioning practices on the metropolitan fringe, threatened by ever-expanding urbanisation dynamics, may be reimagined and reconfigured in such ways that rather than being pushed out of metropolitan areas they can be enabled to claim an active role in managing the food-water-energy nexus in the (near) future. Within the confinements of the overall research programme I am not to take the future as an extension of a dominant now, but rather to explore the envisioning of various potentialities of multitudinous futures and investigate how to shift perspective from the obvious, mainstream food system, to the multitude of food provisioning practices, developing and emerging from ‘below’ and how to appraise their roles in social and ecological sustainable futures.
Aside from the above, my roots also explain my contentment to have become part Rural Sociology. As a kid, I always enjoyed visiting my grandparents in Italy. Being originally peasants from Calabria (a region in the ‘poor’ southern parts of Italy) who for economic reasons had migrated to the ‘rich’ north of Italy, working the land was part of their being. Therefore, next to a small two-room apartment in the centre of smoggy Milan, where my grandfather had started a restaurant serving traditional Calabrian food, they had a cottage in the hills of Alessandria (one and a half hour drive from Milan). Here they had an orchard with various fruit trees (apricots, peaches, prunes, cherries), a vineyard and they grew their own vegetables. I always loved to climb the trees and pick and eat the fruit while sitting in the trees and have lunch with the whole family underneath the umbrella pine close to the house. My grandma processed the tomatoes and basil from the garden into pasta sauce, which, with the fresh homemade pasta she made, needed just a little parmesan cheese to make it taste beautiful. The wine came directly from the neighbours and was made partly with the grapes my grandfather grew. Also, years later, when my grandparents had to sell the cottage and were stuck in their two-room apartment, my grandmother kept huge basil plants on the balcony, which, with an open window, smelled up the whole living room. My grandfather rented a small plot next to a power station a couple of blocks from their house, to be able to continue to work the field and grow his tomatoes. In Milan, due to his connections in the catering industry, he sometimes was able to obtain from friends ‘Sardella’, a typical fish conserve from Calabria – also known as ‘Poor man’s caviar’.
These memories, the smells and tastes are to my opinion important points of focus manifested in studies of regional food dynamics, diverse modes of food provisioning (in peri-urban and urban areas) and interlinked food networks (as in this case emerging from migration flows). I do believe in the relevancy of giving affective credence to food knowledge, food appreciation and consciousness in the identification and generation of socially just and ecologically sustainable food futures. And, I hope, without sounding too histrionic, in the coming three years to be able to combine ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ and form new personal pathways that contribute – e.g. through action research approaches – to the identification of diversity, making visible the potentialities of unconventional food practices, broadening the scientific, policy-oriented and public visions of food provisioning activities and advancing multiple food futures and policy decisions. In elaborating these ‘small-scale’ ambitions I guess I will very much appreciate an automatic wifi connection.
Social economy is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of third sector, cooperative, voluntary, non-profit, and social enterprise initiatives that put social and environmental well-being before profit. They operate in different sectors of the economy, and provide a number of important goods and services – that range from food to social services and care. The social economy is also an important part of the solidarity economy, a term used to describe diverse economic practices that seek to strengthen local economies and communities and create alternatives as a form of resistance to the social, economic, and environmental injustices associated with capitalism, colonialism, racism, and neoliberalism. The cities of Ede, Arnhem, and Nijmegen are home to a growing number of social economy initiatives, especially in the areas of agriculture, food, and nature (e.g. ecosystems services, green infrastructure). Here they play a vital, yet often unrecognized role. With these three thesis topics – on (WP1) mapping, (WP2) diverse economies analysis, and (WP3) assessment – we hope to change that.
Start date: January or February 2019
Questions? Please get in touch!
What/ Where is the social economy in food-health valley?
This MSc thesis will seek to inventory and categorize social enterprises in the greater Ede, Arnhem, and Nijmegen region. Through online research and field research you will construct a database and map of social economy initiatives in the agriculture, food and nature domains providing social services. You will work closely with a MSc student specializing in diverse economies to develop a typology for categorizing these initiatives in terms of their organizational model, funding, sector and services, etc. The data you collect is important for measuring the size and scope of the social economy. And ultimately for making the social economy visible to itself, the general public and policymakers. You will organize several stakeholder events in each city to reflect on the reflect on your data, and also what is missing. You will use your research practice to strengthen existing social economy networks in the region by bringing stakeholders together. Your MSc thesis will thus also reflect on the role of mapping as a method for making networks visible.
What are the diverse economies of the social economy?
This MSc thesis will work closely with the Mapping the social economy thesis to adapt the diverse economies framework (Gibson-Graham 2008) to create a typology of social economy initiatives and practices. You will draw upon the database and map created by MsC 1 to select case studies from several different sectors (e.g. food, agriculture, nature care, etc.) and analyse them for their diverse economic practices and business and funding models. You will examine the social and institutional relationships and policies that shape these practices – e.g. health policy, access to land from the city. And identify emerging social innovations and best practices to share within this network social economy initiatives.
What are the impacts of the social economy, and how can we measure them?
Social economy initiatives have important goals. But how do they know they are achieving them? What metrics and indicators are meaningful? And what types of evaluation tools are actually useful and usable ? And how can they best communicate their impact (to funders, policy makers, and participants)? You will answer these questions, in collaboration with social economy initiatives working in different sectors of the region. Together you will co-design impact and assessment tools that are tailored to the unique needs of social economy initiatives yet also replicable and can be implemented by the initiatives. You will organize communities of practice around evaluation that are rooted in the concrete needs and practices of different sectors.
Amin, A. (Ed.). (2013). The social economy: International perspectives on economic solidarity. Zed Books.
Gibson-Graham, J. K. (2008). Diverse economies: performative practices for other worlds’. Progress in Human Geography, 32(5), 613-632.
Gibson-Graham, J. K., Cameron, J., & Healy, S. (2013). Take back the economy: An ethical guide for transforming our communities. University of Minnesota Press.
Loh, P., & Agyeman, J. (2018). Urban food sharing and the emerging Boston food solidarity economy. Geoforum.
Miller, E. (2010). Solidarity Economy. In Eds. E. Kawano, T. Masterson, and J. Teller-Ellsberg. Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives for People and Planet. Amherst, MA: Center for Popular Economics. 2010
Chris Chancellor, WU Graduate
The impact that our industrialised global food supply-chain has on diverse ecosystems and communities around the world is receiving greater attention than ever before. Scholars and activists have for decades emphasised how European agricultural demand has driven deforestation and environmental destruction in species-rich biomes such as the Amazon and Cerrado regions in Latin America. Now it is becoming clear that the consequences extend far beyond the environmental harm generated by the production stage itself. When looking at the wider chain, the implications of industrial food systems for issues such as food and nutritional security, human health, social justice, rural vitality, employment, and the concentration of market control, become apparent.
Having found its way onto the political agenda, the European Union (EU) has come up with the idea of a European Protein Plan. The EU is currently heavily reliant on imports of protein crops, primarily soybean from Latin America’s Southern Cone region. As well as being linked with major environmental and human rights concerns, the reliance on imports also makes the EU agricultural industry vulnerable to shocks in international commodity prices. Soybean is the favoured ingredient in animal feed for the EUs powerful livestock industry, and therefore a price shock would have major socio-economic consequences.
The Protein Plan essentially proposes increasing the amount of domestic protein crop production. The idea is that this would lift the burden on Latin American ecosystems whilst at the same time providing the EU with greater ‘protein independence’. This has been presented as a win-win situation, and yet the manner in which this production would take place has received little or no critical attention.
A report published by civil society organisation European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) highlights the dangers of simply transplanting the same corporate industrial supply-chain into Europe. Last year, an agreement called the European Soya Declaration was signed by 13 member states, highlighting the suitability of fertile and ‘underused’ lands in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) for expansion of European soybean production. The ECVC report details the recent emergence of agribusinesses and financial investors in the CEE region. Land here is cheaper and often more fertile than in Western Europe, and offers suitable agro-climatic conditions for commodity soybean cultivation. There is therefore an opportunity for large profits to be made if land is bought up now, cultivated with soybean or other commodity protein crops, and potentially sold later when land prices have reached western European levels. As one company puts it: ‘protein crops are the new gold bars’. However, this process is not a neutral one, and entails radical reformulations of arable land ownership and control, threatening the livelihoods of the region’s small-scale producers and rural communities.
Another report from the Land and Resource Lookout reaches a similar conclusion, pointing out that ‘a control-blind approach’ to sustainability is evident. Much attention is given to the fact that this soy would be non-GM, would be deforestation-free, and would help to fix nitrogen in crop rotations. These are undoubtedly positive, yet these traits in isolation don’t automatically equal sustainable supply-chains. The manner in which this soy is produced, distributed and consumed, as well as how and who controls these processes and relevant markets, are key for building a truly sustainable and inclusive food system. It argues that sustainable food system strategies must explicitly address the issue of corporate control if effective progress is to be made.
With the European Commission set to release a report on the EU Protein Plan before the end of the year, both reports advocate for the inclusion of agroecological principles and the concept of food sovereignty in any future EU protein strategies. An agroecological transition offers a potential pathway for a truly inclusive, interconnected and mutually beneficial food system to be built, but this must receive political backing in order for it to really take hold.
The fact that the sorts of headline issues emphasised in the European Soya Declaration are receiving genuine political attention is a positive step. It provides an opportune moment to address deep-seated systemic problems in our current industrially-based food system; policy-makers must now be brave enough to seize it!
Note: are you a WU master student and interested in doing a thesis research on this issue, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org