Building bridges: The PUREFOOD event “Beyond Divides: An International Winter School and Forum on Contemporary Agri-Food Issues” forges network, debate and learning
Barcelona, 12 to 22 November 2012
By Leah Ashe
The PUREFOOD Network and the Food and Nutrition Observatory of the University of Barcelona played host to the international winter school ‘Beyond Divides: An International Forum on Contemporary Agri-Food Issues”, held in Barcelona from the 12th through the 22nd of November, 2012. The event featured contributions of leading international scholars including Professors Patricia Allen (Marylhurst College, USA), Michael K. Goodman (King’s College, UK), James Kirwan (Countryside and Community Research Institute, UK) and Jesús Contreras (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain). With a mission of fomenting debate, exchange and collaboration, the forum featured various opportunities and learning formats, including thematic panels and roundtables on contemporary themes such as food justice, alternative food networks, food and nutrition security, tradition and innovation. It also proposed an integrated program of site visits that leveraged exemplars from a Catalan culture particularly strong in both food tradition and innovation, including visits to the Fundación Alicia (the food and science foundation patronized by leading chef Ferran Adría), the Parc Agrari del Baix Llobregat (‘home’ to over 500 small producers), Mercabarna (the second-largest wholesale market in Europe), the Boquería (the flagship of Barcelona’s well-used network of 44 municipal markets), and Cavas Guilera (a small family-run cava producer in Catalonia’s renowned Penedés wine region).
PUREFOOD is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (an EU FP7 project) designed to build capacity and knowledge around the critical issues that define the contemporary peri-urban foodscape, including, among others topics, food and nutrition security, public health, and sustainable urban and rural development. The network comprises 12 fellows (early-stage researchers / Ph.D. students) at seven universities worldwide, each working on distinct projects related to secure and sustainable agri-food systems, as well as a leadership team of academic and non-academic partners. For more information see http://purefoodnetwork.eu/. ODELA is an interdisciplinary and inter-university team of researchers working toward the understanding and analysis of human food culture and behaviour from historical, social, economic and cultural perspectives. Its recent work has focused on the transformation of eating habits historically and in recent decades and on efforts to preserve and promote local culinary patrimony. More information is available at www.odela-ub.com.
The event took place as part of an international thrust toward more collaborative work efforts and served to strengthen the academic and practical connections between Catalonia, Europe and North America.