RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016


42 Organising Food Access: Community Food, Governance and Place (1): Transformative Food Practices and The Producer-Consumer Nexus
Affiliation Food Geographies Working Group
Convenor(s) Mags Adams (University of Salford, UK)
Rebecca Sandover (University of Exeter, UK)
Chair(s) Rebecca Farnum (King's College London, UK)
Timetable Wednesday 31 August 2016, Session 2 (11:10 - 12:50)
Session abstract The increase of community food projects based in the UK and globally affords the opportunity for academics to explore the emergent governance of these projects. Whilst ad hoc place-based groups emerge in specific locales, the spread of formalised community food focused projects with national and global reach also impact localised communities. These differing spheres of operation may affect the potential of these projects to impact policy and praxis and their potential to disseminate food knowledge. Therefore this session seeks to explore the role of community food projects as catalysts in generating food knowledge and in shaping ‘access to food’ governance. In what way do the differing levels of formalised structures and reach change how community food projects operate? This session will - Critically examine community food projects as actants for enabling food justice - How the governance of local food projects affect their engagements with local communities and shaping policy - Examine the tensions between food knowledge diffusion and the differing modes of organisation of community food projects - Critically examine the role of place itself as a melting pot of opportunities for access to food and generating food knowledge - Question the extent to which community food projects transcend place boundaries to generate wider impacts and cross the seeming gulf of urban vs rural food research - Examine the modes by which academics research community food projects and the role of the practitioner-researcher

Linked Sessions Organising Food Access: Community Food, Governance and Place (2): Food Knowledge, Food Justice and bridging the Rural-Urban divide
Organising Food Access: Community Food, Governance and Place (3): Post-Graduate Reflections on Food Volunteerism, Activism and Self-Organisation
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2016@rgs.org
Everyday practices of food consumption: effecting behaviour change in households experiencing food poverty
Mags Adams (University of Salford, UK)
Michael Hardman (University of Salford, UK)
This paper assesses the success of a food bag scheme in Greater Manchester which was devised to enable households experiencing food poverty to cultivate cooking and budgeting skills in relation to developing a healthy sustainable diet. In evaluating the changing eating habits of the participants in a ten-week programme alongside the aims of the programme's providers, the complexity of behaviour change is discussed. Theories of behaviour change have recently been challenged by a 'practice turn' in human geography (and social science more broadly), whereby it is demanded that the individual is de-centred from analysis and attention is focused on the social organisation of practices themselves. This article argues that while it is necessary to understand the social interactions and power relations leading to entrenched cooking practices, shorter term individual and household behaviour change may still affect food poverty outcomes.
'Consuming the Farm': West Town Farm as a Community Food Hub
Rebecca Sandover (University of Exeter, UK)
Kevin Cotter (Organic Arts, UK)
Andy Bragg (West Town Farm, UK)
Suzanne Hocknell (University of Exeter, UK)
This paper examines how one farm in Devon can act as a hub for extending food knowledge into the local city of Exeter through school liaisons, a mobile food van and by running arts projects with community groups. Through these means this farm has reinvented itself to form alliances not only with other local producers but also with a range of community sectors that may or may not become consumers of their produce. Opening up the farm for the public to experience it as a place for livestock production, community growing and arts enable the farm itself to come to the forefront in the food production-consumption network. It could be said this focus on community engagement enables a much wider audience to 'consume the farm'. This paper will use the example of the RGS-IBG 2015 Food Matters Symposium held at the farm, to set out the work of the farm and the creative solutions they employ to share the farm with a wider network. This will be a joint presentation that sets out the farm's projects and its role in forging links between consumers and producers and between rural and urban sites of knowing food. Issues of land ownership and governance, land use practices and more underpin this work. Using the example of the symposium, this paper will explore how these challenges facing small scale farmers underpin the work of the farm and the range of their creative means of sharing knowledge of these issues that enable a wider audience to 'consume the farm'.
REKO –facilitating change and fostering community relations through Rooted Governance practices
Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes (Hanken School of Economics, Finland)
This study explores the concept of 'Rooted Governance' in the model of community supported agriculture (CSA) initiative 'REKO'in Finland. Rooted governance is defined as a governance model that rises from below always anchored in the place-based surroundings that sustains it and it itself is sustaining (Ehrnström-Fuentes, 2016). The system can be a market where the producers and consumers through collaborative efforts define how both parties contribute to its success, or it can involve more broadly the organization of social life in community of all different actors that do not fit the market logic. REKO is an online (Facebook) platform that has emerged as a local alternative to the top-down model of two dominant supermarket chains. The model was elaborated to increase the benefits of locally produced/consumed food by directly connecting producers and consumers. This study looks at how REKO is a facilitator of change in terms of how its members (producers, administrators, consumers) engage in the norm building processes of the production and consumption of locally produced food in Vaasa (one of the two pilot REKOs introduced in June 2013, currently the biggest REKO group in Finland with almost 9000 members). What kind of conversations on the ground between producers, administrators, and consumers has the REKO model contributed to? What are the obstacles of introducing more radical changes in terms of farming practices (a switch to more ethically sound principles, organic production), consumption behaviours, and how people engage with place as a site of cultural reproduction of food practices? The analysed material is based on documented online conversations from the start of REKO in 2013 until this date, between producers, and administrators and producers and consumers. The researcher has been part of the REKO Admin group since its initial planning meeting in January 2013.
The role of local food initiatives in addressing food sovereignty and food justice agendas
Michael Hardman (University of Salford, UK)
Mags Adams (University of Salford, UK)
This paper evaluates the role of local food initiatives such as Incredible Edible in meeting food sovereignty agendas. Drawing on research in Todmorden and Salford in the UK the paper questions the extent to which local food initiatives can be said to be inclusive and what this means in terms of any such small scale urban agriculture being viewed as contributing to food justice in the UK. The article critically evaluates a number of taken for granted assumptions about the role and place of such local food initiatives and suggests ways in which local food initiatives might be better structured to contribute to food sovereignty.