Imagining transformative food futures: starting with people on the front lines   

By: Joost Vervoort

When the future of food in Europe is discussed by policy makers, conversations traditionally focus on large-scale economics and on agricultural production. At the same time, however, people in initiatives and organizations all throughout Europe are actively experimenting with new ways to organize European food, often at local and national levels. The people involved in these initiatives have diverse and transformative ideas about what food in Europe’s future could be, and these ideas drive them to work hard to achieve their desired futures. But this lively and diverse world of food system experimentation fails to connect, for the most part, to national and European policy dialogues.

In the FP7 TRANSMANGO project, we aimed to explore the future hopes and worries of people working in such highly innovative and transformative projects and networks. This exploration of different futures was done in close collaboration with the people involved in such initiatives. TRANSMANGO researchers aimed to offer different futuring tools – visioning, back-casting (planning backward from the future) and the use of challenging scenarios – to transformative food initiatives. These approaches were offered in the first place to help such initiatives think more strategically about their own goals and how they could be reached in the face of the pressures that a changing future might offer. By focusing on using different approaches for engaging with the future on the specific plans and strategies of food initiatives, we aimed to make sure that future explorations were concretely useful to all involved.   Continue reading “Imagining transformative food futures: starting with people on the front lines   “

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Harnessing the power of public money for FNS

By Brídín Carroll

As the project TRANSMANGO is coming to an end, we now focus on lessons learned. Public procurement had been selected as one of five key areas of concern and for a deeper analysis in work package 5. As public procurement relates to all goods and services purchased with public money, it is a subject particularly important for food governance (for a detailed look at this analysis see D5.2).

Public procurement accounts for a significant proportion of GDP (17% in the EU) and this has led to the recognition of public procurement’s power to affect changes towards greater sustainability. In addition, it inhabits a unique position whereby it can affect demand-side and supply-side change. It addresses the former by targeting groups which are most vulnerable to food poverty by providing nutritious food. It impacts the latter by creating new markets for smaller and often more sustainable producers Continue reading “Harnessing the power of public money for FNS”

Zooming in on ‘Food poverty’

By Brídín Carroll

Food poverty has been identified by TRANSMANGO as a key area of concern for food and nutrition security (FNS) in Europe (see D5.2). But what exactly is ‘food poverty’? 

Food poverty is defined as existing when one cannot access or avail of a safe and healthy diet, often because of financial restrictions. A key element of food poverty is uncertainty of supply and understandings of this concept therefore also tend to incorporate considerations of social or cultural norms, standards, customs or acceptability with regard to food (Nikolic et al, 2014; Dowler and O’Connor, 2012; Burns et al, 2010; Balanda et al, 2008; Dowler et al, 2007). Continue reading “Zooming in on ‘Food poverty’”

Invitation to organic policy workshop

Let’s make our European food system resilient to future shocks and stresses together through organic food and farming

TRANSMANGO is an interdisciplinary research project funded by the EU that focuses on the vulnerability and resilience of European food systems in a context of socioeconomic, behavioural, technological, institutional and agro-ecological change. Within this project we aim to investigate and empower innovative sustainable food practices across Europe and explore with policymakers and key stakeholders at different levels how such practices could lead to local and European transition towards better and more sustainable food and nutrition security futures. Continue reading “Invitation to organic policy workshop”

TRANSMANGO participating in Transformations2015 conference

A group of the TRANSMANGO consortium was present at the Transformations2015 conference in Stockholm, Sweden. This conference focussed on transformations towards sustainability: the challenge of solving problems in the Anthropocene and creating conditions for good lives for people, today and in the future, while strengthening Earth’s life support system. The aim of the conference was to build a better understanding of large-scale systemic changes and fundamental redirections in people-planet relationships that can have an impact at scales that match the challenges of the Anthropocene, in both developed and developing country contexts.

Transformations2015

Continue reading “TRANSMANGO participating in Transformations2015 conference”