Food sharing: contemporary cultures, practices and economies

Published by Oona Morrow on the 2nd May 2017.

Food sharing: contemporary cultures, practices and economies

Last month, PI Anna Davies and Postdoctoral Researcher Oona Morrow had the opportunity to spend a week in Boston for the 2017 Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting. In preparation for the meeting we sent out a call for papers on the theme of food sharing cultures, practices, and economies . We received a large response, and were able to organize three empirically rich sessions and a panel discussion, sponsored by the Economic Geography Specialty Group and the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group of the AAG. We are tremendously grateful to all who were able to attend, especially participants who faced discriminatory immigration hurdles – and chose to come and present their research anyway. We are lucky to be able to travel freely, to have access to such supportive, diverse, and international spaces for knowledge exchange. And we hope these spaces will continue to exist.

Presenters engaged with various forms of food sharing, including foraging, food banks, food rescue, surplus food redistribution, solidarity food economies, urban and rural growing, food swaps, alternative food networks and markets, food not bombs, and cooperatives – in cities and regions in the US, Peru, Australia, Germany, Turkey, and the UK. Yet across these diverse practices and places, we also noticed some common themes. The tensions between community and commercial objectives; the exclusionary power of cultural capital and taste in food sharing communities; the regulatory power of food safety authorities; and the political potential and limitations of food sharing for creating commons, voicing protest, and sharing cultural experiences and knowledge.

The closing event of the day was a panel discussion with local food activists and practitioners, and academics from the US and the UK. We are grateful to the AAG who provided sponsorship for the participation of local food activists and practitioners, including representatives from The League of Urban Canners, The Boston Area Gleaners, City Growers, and Food for Free. The panel discussed a range of topics related to food security and innovation in urban food systems, including the local experience in Boston of collaboration and competition in the surplus food arena. We also discussed what the future of food sharing might look like in these turbulent times, when funding for emergency food services is being threatened and the need for these services is likely to increase. However, as one audience member concluded, despite all the challenges that those seeking a just and sustainable food system face, the sessions and panel discussion highlighted a range of inspirational examples where individuals are refusing to accept the status quo and are seeking transformational change in our food systems. We would like to thank all our participants for their insights during the day and wish them well with their future endeavours.

Oona Morrow and Anna Davies


Food sharing: contemporary cultures, practices and economies I

Anna Davies, PhD Trinity College Dublin

Unity in Diversity? Theories and practices of food sharing

Jane Midgley, PhD Newcastle University

‘it sounds very simple to give food away but to do it well is very difficult’: Exploring the complexities of surplus food and food sharing

Marcus Nyman, BA, MSc – Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

Discerning the food from the trees: urban foraging in London and the reimagining of urban nature

Connor J. Fitzmaurice – Boston University Juliet B. Schor, Phd – Boston College

Distinguishing Food: Bartering for Jams and Legitimacy in a Failed Circuit of Commerce

Cathy Sherry – University of New South Wales

Foraging down under

Food sharing: contemporary cultures, practices and economies II

Oona Morrow, PhD – Trinity College Dublin

Towards a Community Food Sharing Economy: Notes from Berlin

Penn Loh – Tufts University Julian Agyeman – TUFTS UNIVERSITY

The emerging Boston Food Solidarity Economy

Melissa Kennedy – La Trobe University

The Sharing Economy of Slow Food

Kristin Reynolds, Ph.D. – Food.Scholarship.Justice Claudia Urdanivia, M.A. – Food.Scholarship.Justice Michael Harrington, M.S. Candidate – The New School/Food.Scholarship.Justice

Participatory Evaluation As Food and Environmental Justice Praxis: Experiences from New York City and State

Catarina Passidomo – University of Mississippi

Place-marketing and mythmaking through food in Peru and the American South

Food sharing: contemporary cultures, practices and economies III


Food Sharing Network in Istanbul: Promoting Alternative Food Production and Consumption Through Concrete Actions

Samantha Outhwaite – University of Manchester – Manchester

‘Real’ Bread: The Biopolitics of Sharing Socio-Material Knowledge-Practices in an ‘Alternative’ Food Network

Aida Baghernejad – King’s College London

Eating Together, Competing with Each Other: Food Sharing on Street Food Markets in Berlin and London

Food sharing: contemporary cultures, practices and economies IV

Penn Loh – Tufts University
Jane Midgley – Newcastle University
Amy Jarvis – League of Urban Canners
Margaret Connors – City Growers
Sasha Purpura – Food for Free




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