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’”

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TRANSMANGO: The project that is *not* about mangoes

Four years into the project, roughly 30 country level food systems reports and about 18 deliverables later… And many of us will have had a question about mangoes at some point in time while at a conference or a local meeting. To clear the air and clarify what TRANSMANGO is all about; I’ll give a brief (as possible) overview of the project’s interdisciplinary, multi-layered and multi-sited work and some of the key deliverables and interesting reports produced throughout these years. Sad to say, this will not involve any mangoes… 🙂

As we set out on this ambitious project, our aims were to firstly, reformulate the debate on FNS. A second, more methodological objective, was to develop new ways of system modelling by combing quantitive and qualitative approaches. And lastly, through his new methodological approach we aimed to connect EU-level dynamics and local-level dynamics regarding food systems. The idea behind all these objectives was to connect the work on quantitative and indicator-based assessments of food systems to the vast empirical diversity regarding the securities, vulnerabilities and sovereignties around food, and as such build a comprehensive picture of EU food systems.

Continue reading “TRANSMANGO: The project that is *not* about mangoes”

TRANSMANGO @School

TRANSMANGO is a research project, so it is obvious that we spread the message of our research to our colleagues in the academic world. However, TRANSMANGO is about food and security in Europe and vulnerability of European citizens, today and in the future.

One group of citizens we therefore can’t ignore in the project is youngsters. How do they think about food security, about healthy food and sustainable food systems? What kind of future food system do they dream of, and what kind of food system do they fear? Continue reading “TRANSMANGO @School”

FOOD 2030

Roberta Sonnino (Cardiff University) will be the Vice-Chair of FOOD 2030 Expert Group and act as rapporteur for the conference on “Harnessing Research and Innovation for FOOD 2030: A science-policy dialogue” that will take place in Brussels in 16th October. In this role, she will be in charge of writing a short report on the main EU R&I achievements in the area of “climate and environmental sustainability”.

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The full program and the registration tool is available on the website of the European Commission

TRANSMANGO final conference

INVITATION FINAL TRANSMANGO CONFERENCE  

We kindly invite you for the final TRANSMANGO conference, which will take place on the 28th and 29th of November in Leuven. Registration is now open and the full program of the conference is published.

28 November 2017 : Stakeholder meeting

Meeting with local and European stakeholders that were involved in TRANSMANGO. TRANSMANGO has built heavily on close cooperation with various actors in the food system, both at the local level and at the European level. At this pre-conference, we provide a space for our stakeholders to meet each other in an organised setting. Registration is by invitation only

29 November 2017 : Final conference

The program includes presentations of TRANSMANGO researchers, contributions from key stakeholders of the project including representatives of local initiatives, dialogue with EU stakeholders and policy makers, and award of TRANSMANGO game jam competition
Confirmed keynote speakers: Jessica Duncan (Wageningen University), Alexandre Meybeck (FAO) and Inge Van Oost (EIP AGRI)
Location: Promotiezaal KU Leuven, Naamsestraat 22, Leuven

Development of Organic Farming in Europe at the Crossroads: Looking for the Way Forward through System Archetypes Lenses

Recently a TRANSMANGO article has been published in Sustainability. It has been written by our colleagues Natalia Brzezina and Erik Mathijs together with Katharina Biely, Birgit Kopainsky, Joost Vervoort and Ariella Helfgott.

Over the last several decades, policymakers and stakeholders in the European Union (EU) have put considerable effort into increasing the adoption of organic farming, with the overall objective of its sustainable development. However, the growth of the organic sector has come with many challenges that jeopardize its sustainability. The question then is how to move organic farming in Europe forward and at the same time capitalize on its potential contribution to sustainability? Organic farming in the EU is a highly complex and dynamic food system and as such this question cannot be answered in isolation using a one-dimensional mind-set and tools of the past.

systems-archetypes

In this paper, we use three system archetypes—Limits to Growth, Shifting the Burden and Eroding Goals—to sharpen our ability: (1) to analyze and anticipate difficulties in the development of organic farming in the EU under the current policy measures; and (2) to find effective ways to address these difficulties. A system archetype consists of a generic system structure that leads to unintended behavior over time and effective strategies for changing the structure into one that generates desirable behavior. The analysis reveals that in order to move forward, policymakers and stakeholders should reemphasize fundamental solutions rather than quick fixes that often generate unintended consequences. Specifically, Limits to Growth shows us that the leverage for moving organic farming out of the niche does not necessarily lie in increasing subsidies that push engines of growth, but rather in anticipating and managing its limits arising from, for instance, market dynamics or intrinsic environmental motivation. In turn, Shifting the Burden brings to attention how easily and unnoticeably the EU’s organic farming system can become dependent on third countries thereby undermining its own sustainability. Finally, Eroding Goals highlights that is it important to continuously improve regulatory standards based on an external frame of reference, as otherwise organic farming in the EU will continue on its trajectory towards conventionalization.

More details ? Please follow this link.

Starting up a Common Food Strategy in Europe

by : Natalia Brzezina, KU Leuven

On the 9th of February, the TRANSMANGO Consortium organized a European policy workshop entitled “Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Food and Nutrition Security in Europe (FNS)”. A number of high level experts from across different areas of the European food system gathered in Brussels to formulate building blocks of a Common Food Strategy for a more coherent landscape of EU policies allowing innovative food practices to thrive and lead to sustainable and resilient FNS. In addition with this workshop our ambition was to start up a long-term platform fostering the Common Food Strategy and offering a unique space for different EU actors to interact with social innovators throughout Europe and to work together on concrete solutions for European food system challenges.

The workshop itself was a highly interactive participatory meeting that consisted of four consecutive sessions, namely: (1) formulation of recommendations to tackle food system challenges in a coherent way, (2) examination of the recommendations in terms of impact on local practices and confirmation with their design principles and (3) check of the robustness of the recommendations the eight TRANSMANGO scenarios at the European level. Continue reading “Starting up a Common Food Strategy in Europe”

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”

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?”