Published by Oona Morrow on the 2nd May 2017.
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
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
Cathy Sherry – University of New South Wales
Food sharing: contemporary cultures, practices and economies II
Oona Morrow, PhD – Trinity College Dublin
Penn Loh – Tufts University Julian Agyeman – TUFTS UNIVERSITY
Melissa Kennedy – La Trobe University
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
Catarina Passidomo – University of Mississippi
Food sharing: contemporary cultures, practices and economies III
AGATHE FAUTRAS – PARIS IV SORBONNE – ENeC / IFEA
Food Sharing Network in Istanbul: Promoting Alternative Food Production and Consumption Through Concrete Actions
Samantha Outhwaite – University of Manchester – Manchester
Aida Baghernejad – King’s College 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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