A food dystopia: Is Britain sleepwalking into a crisis?

Terry Marsden and Kevin Morgan, Cardiff University

Back to the future?

The historical ability for the UK state to periodically create self-inflicted harm upon its own food system seems to be raising its head again as the country triggers Article 50 to remove itself from the European Union. We should remember that the repeal of the Corn Laws in the 1840s, opening up the UK to cheap food imports (based indeed on subsidised imperial preferences to its colonies), in exchange for colonial penetration of its financial and manufacturing interests and sectors, created the conditions for a long- running agricultural and rural depression in the UK, lasting well into the 1930s. That Imperial regime of ‘free trade’ created much harm to the British food system, its rural areas, and indeed shaped a dependent food diet based upon imports from colonies and other Logo_brexit_new_size2.pngEuropean nations (like Danish  Bacon and Dutch eggs and pork). What is ironically labelled as the ‘full English’ breakfast up and down the land derives from the successful import penetration of its component parts from overseas. The decline in our food-based infrastructure was so bad that, by the onset of the 1st World War, Lloyd George had to go ‘cap in hand’ to the likes of Henry Ford to plead concessions on building his tractors on these shores in order to resolve food and rural labour shortages. Even by 1941 the national farm survey found the agricultural situation in a parlous state, even before the U-boat campaign further disrupted food supplies and led to a  period of prolonged public food rationing until 1954. Continue reading “A food dystopia: Is Britain sleepwalking into a crisis?”

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TRANSMANGO GAME JAMS

By Ina van der Brug (HKU)
University of the Arts Utrecht (HKU) is organizing a series of game jams throughout Europe for the EU TRANSMANGO project, using games to help spark the imagination of ordinary people, decision-makers, people working in the world of food, students, children and anyone else you can think of. We want to harness the unique potential of games to challenge, to inspire, to engage and help people explore and understand what food could mean in the future, and how it could work. At the end of 2017 during the end event of the TRANSMANGO project the most appealing concepts will be presented. Teams of the Glasgow Gamejam, Florence gamestorm, Utrecht Gamejam and the Brussels gamestorm will present their gameconcepts.
For more information please look at: http://www.jamtoday.eu

Voedsel in 2050

Wetenschapsweek 2016 – Voedsel in 2050

Tessa Avermaete en Tjitske Anna Zwart

In oktober vindt traditiegetrouw de wetenschapsweek plaats. Over heel Vlaanderen maken jongeren kennis met wetenschap. Dit jaar trokken ook wij onze stoute schoenen aan en waagden het om onze deuren open te zetten voor kinderen van de lagere school. Op maandag 25 en vrijdag 28 oktober verwelkomden we leerlingen van de laatste graad van basisschool De Zevensprong. Samen met de leerlingen wierpen we een blik op Voedsel in 2050.

unnamedHoe zal de voedselmarkt eruit zien in 2050? Wat als de opwarming van de aarde een probleem vormt voor onze landbouw? Gaan we dan over 35 jaar onze eetgewoonten veranderen? En wat als technologische vooruitgang het mogelijk maakt om eten via drones aan huis te leveren? Wat als de Belgische bevolking heel snel gaat groeien, bijvoorbeeld door de toestroom van vluchtelingen? Zal dat een invloed hebben op hoe wij eten? Continue reading “Voedsel in 2050”

Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting Boston, April 5-9th 2017

Understanding challenges and opportunities for future food and nutrition security

Bridin Carroll

***EXTENDED DEADLINE***

It is well established that the food system is globally integrated and that this system is subject to a wide range of drivers of change including climate, economic concentration and market structure, financial power, resource competition, marginalization, property rules, geo-political shifts, consumer preferences, consumption patterns and nutritional transition. These drivers of change affect how food flows through this system, at all stages from production to consumption (Yakovleva, 2007; Tansey, 1994). It is important to obtain a comprehensive picture of the effects of these drivers, as well as to systematically assess the vulnerabilities of the food system (pressures, hazards, shocks and stresses), in the context of socio-economic, behavioural, technological, institutional and agro-ecological change. To do so will enhance understandings of the new challenges and opportunities that the food sector will face in the future (Ericksen, 2007; Maxwell and Slater, 2003). Due to the intersectional nature of food –operating in biophysical, socio-cultural, economic, political and technological contexts- food system vulnerabilities should be assessed from a range of perspectives (Sobal et al., 1998; Tansey, 1994). Continue reading “Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting Boston, April 5-9th 2017”

Brexit: Towards building a new consensus for an Integrated Food and Rural Development Policy?

TransmangoJust as increasing calls and debates occur regarding the need for a more integrated and comprehensive Food and Agricultural policy across Europe we now have the Brexit result, which  whilst not changing the urgency for the need  to debate the shape of European policy beyond 2020, certainly adds another dimension and potential ‘opportunity space’ for such developments. Whilst specific instruments and policy programmes might indeed increasingly vary across Europe, this result does not quell the need to debate what sort of founding and common principles upon which such policies should be based.

Here I would like to set out some of the issues and reactions to the Brexit vote for the agri-food policy arena, some of which I presented and discussed at the recent UK Food Research Consortium held at City University, London in July. I also draw upon the recent policy paper we have written, entitled ‘Food Policy and Public Policy’ for the Welsh Minister for Farming and Food [1]. In addition these arguments here draw upon the research and discussions associated with the ongoing (and increasingly policy relevant) EU funded research project, TRANSMANGO [2] . Continue reading “Brexit: Towards building a new consensus for an Integrated Food and Rural Development Policy?”

Draagt Voedselteams bij aan een duurzamer voedselsysteem?

Sinds februari 2014 werkt KU Leuven in twee onderzoeksprojecten samen met Voedselteams: Food4Sustainability en TRANSMANGO. Beide projecten hebben als doel oplossingen te vinden voor een transitie naar een meer duurzaam voedselsysteem. In vorige blogs klik hierhier of hier werden eerdere outputs besproken. Meer specifiek onderzochten we of Voedselteams de capaciteit heeft om bij te dragen aan een transitie naar een duurzaam voedselsysteem in Vlaanderen. In deze blog bespreken we enkele elementen van het antwoord op deze vraag.

Voedselketen
Voedselteams was een van de eerste korte keten initiatieven in Vlaanderen en is sinds haar oprichting in 1996 uitgegroeid tot een vaste waarde in het ‘voedsellandschap’ van Vlaanderen. De organisatie was een van de koplopers in het aanduiden van problemen in de voedselketen, en het laten zien van het belang van het produceren en consumeren  Continue reading “Draagt Voedselteams bij aan een duurzamer voedselsysteem?”

TRANSMANGO game-storm

Doe mee aan de TRANSMANGO game-storm op 22 september van 10.00 tot 16.00 uur bij de KU Leuven!

TRANSMANGO is een onderzoeksproject over voedselzekerheid en, meer specifiek, de overgang naar een duurzamere voedselketen – van productie tot consumptie, en alles wat daarbij, daartussen en daarna komt kijken. Het project kijkt naar de invloed van consumentengedrag op voedselzekerheid. Hoe vangen we veranderende behoeftes van consumenten op zo’n manier op dat alle gevraagde voedsel wel degelijk geleverd kan worden? Er wordt ook gekeken naar beleid. Met welke wetten, regels of sturing zorgen we ervoor dat de hele voedselketen goed om kan gaan met die veranderende behoeftes? Continue reading “TRANSMANGO game-storm”

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)”

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”

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)”