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)”

Experiences from Latvia: Local foresight workshop on school meal systems

The status and development of the Latvian school meal system was the main focus of the first local workshop by the Baltic Studies Centre-team. On the 18th of February we welcomed 19 participants to discuss the current status and developments within the school meal systems. The participants ranged from high level Ministry officials to end users  faced with changes in the school meal system; the high school pupils.

The timing of the workshop was somewhat complicated, as the beginning of 2016 saw a dramatic increase of controversy over new regulations of school meal quality aspects issued by the Ministry of Health. Thus the scenario workshop had the added value of providing the much needed safe and non-partisan meeting place for various stakeholders to try and align the diverse perspectives and agendas. Many participants noted that in the course of their professional activities they do not get the opportunity to meet some of the groups represented at the workshop and this opportunity was much appreciated. This workshop focussed on the desired goals in the school meal system, possible paths to attain those goals, and the downscaling of three EU-level scenarios to the level of the food system and school meals in Latvia. Continue reading “Experiences from Latvia: Local foresight workshop on school meal systems”

Closing the circle: creating a resilient strategy for Voedselteams

Leuven, 4th of March 2016. Recently we posted a blog on the first local case study workshop organized in Leuven (read about it in this post). At that moment confusion around the topic of visioning, the building of scenarios and the testing of strategies still existed. During the second workshop, loose ends were tied together and the different elements of the two workshops were turned into an adapted and resilient plan for the future actions of Voedselteams. 

During the first workshop we downscaled European scenarios from an earlier workshop to the Flemish level. The idea behind these scenarios was not that they were predictions for the future. Rather, they were seen as challenging possible contexts that could be used in order to challenge and improve the future strategy of VT.

Continue reading “Closing the circle: creating a resilient strategy for Voedselteams”

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

On the 1st of February 2016, the first (out of two) local workshop was organized in Florence (Italy). UNIPI team collaborated with Caritas, who is very active in food aid in Tuscany and aims at establishing an “Alliance for food”. The main goal of the workshops is to engage key players in exploring multiple plausible futures in order to test food assistance plans and strategies in a wide range of contexts.

The first workshop on “Food assistance towards food security” was held in Florence, by University of Pisa TRANSMANGO team in collaboration with Caritas[1], a key actor of charitable food assistance in Italy. In recent years of economic crisis, Caritas carried out many initiatives in response to the increased demand of food aid, both at national and local levels. This has been also the case in Tuscany, where we live and work, and where food insecurity is a consequence of poverty and inequality, not of scarcity of food. A complex network of flows of resources, actors and practices – which we consider as a “system of practices” – is facing new pressures and challenges, such as reorganization of European funds, increased awareness of food waste and surplus recovery and budget cuts to the welfare system.

Diapositiva1 Continue reading “Food assistance towards food security: the first local workshop in Tuscany (Italy)”

Creating multiple possible local futures: a tool for change

On the 20th of January, 2016 the first out of two local workshop was organized in Leuven. The main goal of this workshop was to downscale the scenarios that had been produced in an earlier European workshop (read about that in this earlier post) to the Flemish context and identify the elements within these scenarios that are or might become relevant for Voedselteams.

Voedselteams are an alternative food network that builds on the engagement and cooperation of individuals and families. The food teams are consumer teams that consist of at least twelve households, that together organize their (local) food purchases and deliveries. Each member can order food according to his/her needs. The teams are supported by a central organization, that next to its social enterprise function also is registered as an official socio-cultural movement.
The workshop that was organized was the first one out of two. The main goal of these two workshops is to develop a resilient and robust transition pathway for Voedselteams so that they can play a stronger role in providing Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) in Flanders. Continue reading “Creating multiple possible local futures: a tool for change”

From food futures to food action – investigating the link between foresight and policy

In the face of an uncertain future, more and more people working on the challenges of future food and nutritional security are turning to foresight – a field encompassing various methods for exploring diverse future worlds that might come to be.  However, while foresight can often help think about the future, it does not necessarily provide a link with planning and actions. This link between exploring future contexts and considering future actions has to be created somehow. If foresight is used without any understanding of the best way to combine exploration and action, policy makers, researchers, leaders in the private sector and societal organizations who use it run the risk of repeating common mistakes and missing out on the full potential of foresight processes. Continue reading “From food futures to food action – investigating the link between foresight and policy”

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”