In Galicia, homegrown food still takes an important place in food culture, in rural and in urban households but also in eating out. In the past decades, rural dwellers moved from remote rural areas to the coastal urban centres where industries provided work. Whilst new generations increasingly work and organize their life and leisure time in urban environments, the elderly generation keep strong ties to the villages in which they grew up, to the people there, and the land. This way part of urban food consumption stems from produce in home gardens, sometimes at large distance from the urban environment in which people reside. This has implications for farmers who aim to anchor their business in direct producer-consumer relations, a trend which also in Galicia manifests but remains limited due to private access to fresh, homegrown food in urban households.
In this context, MSc research projects can be formulated about:
- Home consumption of food: this project aims to map and understand relations of urban households with land, be this located in the city or in villages at distance, and to improve understanding of how people value homegrown food, what and how they organize production, and whom benefit from this;
- Food initiatives: identify and map initiatives like neighbour markets, consumer cooperatives, farmers’ markets, allotment gardens et cetera with the aim to analyse and understand better the social relations and values from which these initiatives emerge and develop;
- Short food chains: study business initiatives of farmers (vegetables, dairy, meat) who turn their local resources into consumer products, whereby consumers are willing to pay for value added by producers (local varieties of e.g. tomatoes and lattice, organic, grazing systems, use of autochthonous breeds);
- Food forests: large part of Galicia is covered with communal forests. Progressive communities look for ways to benefit from this resource. Is there a future for e.g. honey, mushroom and chestnut production in Galician forests? Map and analyse social relations, and motivations;
- Gastronomy and tourism: chefs in restaurants cook with and serve local and regional products (vegetables, meat, wine), but what makes it that chefs buy to local providers? Who are these farmers? How do they produce, and how do chefs benefit from this in their kitchen?
Researchers with extended networks in Galicia co-supervise these projects. For more information: Joost Jongerden