RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016

RGS-IBG Logo

78 Organising Food Access: Community Food, Governance and Place (2): Food Knowledge, Food Justice and bridging the Rural-Urban divide
Affiliation Food Geographies Working Group
Convenor(s) Rebecca Sandover (University of Exeter, UK)
Mags Adams (University of Salford, UK)
Chair(s) Rebecca Sandover (University of Exeter, UK)
Timetable Wednesday 31 August 2016, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
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 (1): Transformative Food Practices and The Producer-Consumer Nexus
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
Traditional knowledge, cooperatives and food justice: Reconstructing a rural-urban connection
Zuhre Aksoy (Boğaziçi University, Turkey)
Özlem Öz (Boğaziçi University, Turkey)
In centers of genetic origin and diversity, the traditional agricultural knowledge of local communities who cultivate traditional varieties of crops plays an extremely important role in the continuity of practices which conserve crop genetic diversity. For the most part, however, in a subsistence setting, the products of this knowledge stay within the household, if not in the village. This paper will focus on a university food coop (of which we are among the founders and volunteers since 2009) in Istanbul, which acts as a platform for bringing the products of small farmers in different locations in Turkey (a Vavilov center of genetic origin and diversity) who are holders of traditional knowledge to its members. A collective endeavour relying on voluntary work, the cooperative has been at the forefront in providing its members food produced by peasants targeting fair prices not only for consumers but mainly for producers themselves. The cooperative has been a venue where producers and coop members meet, and learn from each other, most importantly, the knowledge about the product (ie. which local variety of seeds are being used), the method of production, including traditional practices specific to the region where production is taking place. At the same time, coop members visit sites of agricultural production as part of their solidarity with peasants for the continuation of their practices, as well as a mechanism for the diffusion of knowledge about the food that is being produced. In this context, the question the paper aims to address is: How and in what ways can urban food cooperatives foster urban-rural connection in ways that bring consumers in an urban setting with peasants together with a focus on the mechanisms of dissemination of knowledge about food. Relatedly, the paper will examine whether food coops can contribute to the continuation of traditional agricultural practices and knowledge, and what the implications are of this particular form of reconstructing urban-rural connection within a food justice framework.
Accounting for free: food foraging and non-monetary assessments of value
Duika L. Burges-Watson (Durham University, UK)
Foraged food from coastal, urban and peri-urban environments has rarely been included in research on urban green space - yet it has recently been estimated that more than 100 million EU citizens consume 'wild' foods, including from urban and peri-urban environments. The National Environment Research Council (NERC) in the UK has acknowledged the need to better understand and represent the complexities and value of the natural environment on health and well-being outcomes that integrate ecological, social, cultural, historical and creative approaches. Foraging is the activity of harvesting for free- whether deliberately enhanced or wild living resources- such things as plants, berries, fruit, nuts, mushrooms, seaweeds, crustaceans, game and fish for individual or household consumption. Food growing projects are 'mushrooming' in the Global North many of which are forging new links between agricultural production and consumption, reinstating common land and promoting foraging for free, community capacity building and new forms of self-reliance and responsible citizenship. There are numerous models of urban and peri-urban food growing for free produce such as Incredible Edibles (Todmordon,UK), Food is Free (Austin, USA) and Beacon Food Forest (Seattle, USA). In this paper I will consider how such food growing projects and 'free' resources harvested from urban and peri-urban green space unsettle the economic policy imperatives of urban transformation and current approaches to the non-monetary assessment of value.
Cultivating The Middle Ground. An Anti-Essentialist (Urban) Political Ecology Of Food Justice
Richard J. Nunes (University of Reading, UK)
Food quality and security is an issue of major public interest, especially in urban mega-cities. However, serious problems exist as to the nature of the food available in these environments. The problem is often not one of access, but of its nature and quality. Although there is access to inexpensive foods supplied by multinational corporations, diets substantially composed of food of this nature has long-term impacts on public health. In one sense, this is the responsibility of national jurisdictions and local public health and planning policies. In another sense it is one of individual and community responsibility, positioning re-localisation strategies as direct challengers to the ideological and market dominance of a global industrial food system. However, the freedom of the state to respond is limited by the rules of international trade and the rights of multinational corporations to trade without suffering discrimination. To an even larger extent both national, and local and community politics are jointly structured, as well as determined or constrained by international economics. These twin challenges present a serious, but under-explored, problem. In this paper I draw attention to the "ontological turn" in political ecology for an ontological reconciliation of discursive approaches to knowing and doing food justice. I argue that a political ontology of emergence enables us to transgress the discursive barriers of contradiction to explore new spaces of food justice possibility.
Spontaneous Large Scale Practice, Urban Pastoralism As An Environmental Tool For Sustainable Urban Planning
Maria Roxana Triboi (University of Architecture and Urbanism "Ion Mincu" Bucharest, Romania)
The pastoralism represents an important cultural legacy of our geographical area, a defining feature of Romanian identity. The importance of this practice, marginalized all over the world due to harsh conditions and constrains, is to be found in all forms of artistic expression and others like a testimony of our past. The evolution of urbanization has actually created a favourable context for this practice in the last decade. Factors like chaotic fragmentation of the periphery, development and urban gaps or waste land, the abandonment of agricultural exploitation of arable land, the demand for dairy and meat products, European Union subventions increased the activity of urban pastoralism (inside but especially outside cities). The phenomenon can be observed also in neighbouring countries in the Balkans. The ecosystem, social and economical services brought by Urban pastoralism entails an ecosystem, develops social and economic services that are multiple but are not given enough recognition by residents and authorities due to the general negative perception of these practices next to the urban residential areas. There are also other factors that put pressure on this fragile phenomenon. The proper recognition and management of this socio-economic practice could transform it into a important tool for sustainable urbanism.