Urban Food Governance and Translocal Assemblages in the UK

By: Helen Coulson

Collaborative food partnerships have proliferated throughout the United Kingdom (UK) over the past decade in an attempt to strategically ‘scale-up’ civil society activities to create spaces of deliberation in the form of cross-sector participatory food system governance coalitions (Moragues-Faus and Morgan 2015). In the absence of an integrated and comprehensive UK-wide national food policy, cities, towns, counties and boroughs are developing various partnerships orientated around participatory and holistic place-based food policy, contextualised by multi-scalar, however, always locally embedded and experienced socio-ecological inequities and injustices.

In this sense, urban areas are positioning themselves as key food policy actors, and strategic sites to reimagine and enact innovative governance configurations as a way to inspire a more participatory, inclusive and emancipatory politics around food (Moragues-Faus et al. 2013). Continue reading “Urban Food Governance and Translocal Assemblages in the UK”

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Alternative food networks & food security

by Pedro Cerrada Serra

Our food system has become increasingly global. The industrialised mainstream model dominates in in the Global North and its high productivity often comes with a well-known heavy burden in terms of environmental and socio-economic negative externalities (biodiversity loss, resource depletion, large-scale exodus of farmers, price volatility…). This “corporate food regime” (in McMichael (2004) terms), has led to a privatization of food security, a “shift in the ‘site’ of food security from the nation-state to the world market” that has proved unable to ensure food and nutrition security (FNS) for all (undernurished people accounts for 11% of total population while overweight and obesity are on the rise everywhere, according to the last State of Food Security and Nutrition report).

Food insecurity is not a distant issue. It also affects fully developed economies as we have witnessed in Europe, particularly associated with the rising unemployment and falling wages hitting hard during the recent economic crisis (some TRANSMANGO case studies go deeper with the issue: food assistance in Tuscany, Dutch food banks, BIA food initiative in Ireland or new-agricultural initiatives in peri-urban Valencia). Continue reading “Alternative food networks & food security”

Public catering as an effective food policy measure in Finland

By: Ville Tikka & Tiina Silvasti, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

It is surprising, how small and occasional attention public catering as a modern food policy practice ensuring food and nutrition security in Finland has attracted. After all, it is estimated that one in three Finns of working age belongs to the clientele of public or subsidized catering and, when explored from the life course perspective, everyone in Finland enjoys public meals in some phase of her/his life.

It is estimated that a third of the Finnish population use public catering services on a daily basis: Coverage of free school lunch is 100 per cent in the age group of 7-16 years and approximately half of the children below the age of seven eat for free – or to be precise, at taxpayers’ expense – in day care, kindergarten or preschool. Also upper secondary schools and vocational institutions serve free school lunches. Continue reading “Public catering as an effective food policy measure in Finland”

Promising insights into local pathways to food and nutrition security

A major part of the TRANSMANGO project, was the interrogation of locally enacted pathways to address food system vulnerabilities and ensure food and nutrition security. Although food system vulnerabilities have been subject to a variety of global and national interventions, programmes and policies, these have not been able to fully address these challenges.

The starting point for WP6 was the assumption that food systems cannot be understood as uniform. ‘Local’ actors too attempt to address food system vulnerabilities within their locality and in doing so may offer promising and resilient practices. The recently published local food and nutrition security (FNS) pathways reports showcase a rich diversity of practices found at the local level and can serve as insights for policy-makers at EU and local level. The cases have been synthesised in D6.4.

Continue reading “Promising insights into local pathways to food and nutrition security”

Urban Agriculture in Eindhoven. Experiences from the last workshop (Netherlands)

On June 8th, we had our final workshop on urban agriculture in the Dutch city of Eindhoven. Together with the organization Proeftuin040 and stakeholders representing a range of perspectives (e.g. urban food initiatives, housing corporation, municipality of Eindhoven, regional government, NGOs, and social welfare institutions among other parties) we dived into three different scenarios and reflected on how the preliminary urban agriculture vision for Eindhoven looked like against these possible future contexts.

1We kickstarted the workshop by briefly presenting the three scenarios that participants were asked to work with, in this way all participants had an idea of the whole range of futures being used in the exercise. These three scenarios were local adaptations from the ones developed through our EU-level workshops and outlined three potential futures for 2030. That meant that scenarios were infused with locally relevant features and events related to design and technology, (power) dynamics and control of innovation processes, inflow and outflow of expert labor, green and cultural development, social inequality, etc. Continue reading “Urban Agriculture in Eindhoven. Experiences from the last workshop (Netherlands)”

Food assistance towards food security: the second local workshop in Tuscany (Italy)

On the 3rd of May, the second local workshop for “Food assistance towards food security” took place in Florence. This allowed to close the circle and make sense of the work started in workshop 1 (read this). The aim of the workshops is to engage key players in exploring plausible futures in order to test food assistance strategies. The final goal is to provide suitable instruments for stakeholders to tackle the challenges they currently face in the changing context.

The groundwork for this second workshop was laid during the first workshop (held on the 1st of February) and by the following elaboration of the content by the UNIPI research team. In particular we obtained two sets of apparently disjointed results: Continue reading “Food assistance towards food security: the second local workshop in Tuscany (Italy)”

Embracing and exploring diversity in sustainable transition pathways to food and nutrition security

Through the project TRANSMANGO we hope to contribute to a better understanding of sustainable transition pathways to changing food systems. Especially in WP6 we put focus on the diverse food practices performed on the local level all over Europe and their contribution to food and nutrition security[1]. The European ‘fragmented foodscape’[2] is constituted by a range of various and often contrasting social practices that co-exist and interact with another. Hence we have selected a diverse range of food practices all over Europe in order to explore whether and if so how they enhance food security. These practices range from urban food (policy) initiatives in the UK to food assistance in Italy.

The 18 diverse case-studies that have been selected for WP6 illustrate the European[3]  heterogeneity in Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) practices and transition pathways. The selection covers predominantly ‘counter movements’ and more radical FNS transition pathways of which most have a focus on ‘bottom up’ initiatives around the consumption of food (rather than the production) as this field is still underrepresented when it comes to food system transition research. As can be seen in the figure, all of our partners have selected two case-studies. This was done based on the requirement that these social practices cover entitlement- and/or self-reliance issues. Using this divide amongst the cases allows us to zoom in on the contradictions in European food governance. Foremost, it provides us with a good insight into the complexity and heterogeneity of food practices, but also shows the need for ‘macro-level’ actors (e.g. the EU) to embrace these diverse interactions on a ‘micro-level’. Continue reading “Embracing and exploring diversity in sustainable transition pathways to food and nutrition security”