Category Archives: News

Postgraduate Travel Grant

OTA-RE Travel Grant 2015

Organic Trust Australia Research and Education is offering two grants of $1000 each to postgraduate students of any tertiary institution in Australia. The purpose of the grants is to assist with expenses for attending a national or international conference. Applications close 31 October 2014. For more information, please visit their website.

Upcoming events

The second half of the year is looking good for food related events.

In order of appearance:

10 – 19 October – Fair Food Week, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance

13-14 October – Right to Food Coalition Conference, Casula, Western Sydney

16-18 November - 4th Regional Food Cultures and Networks Conference hosted by Southern Cross University. Session proposals will be accepted until August 30th, 2014 and should be forwarded to Adele Wessell. 

19-21 November – Food Security and the Murray Darling Basin, Albury, NSW

24- 26  November – Our very own Australasian Agrifood Research Network conference. Abstracts due at the end of this month and should be submited through this form.

New book announcement

Congratulations to our international Agrifood colleagues, Jörg Gertel and Sarah Sippel and the contributors to the volume “Seasonal Workers in Mediterranean Agriculture. The Social Costs of Eating Fresh”.  Edited by Jörg Gertel & Sarah Ruth Sippel, Routledge, 2014

Over the last three decades there has been a rapid expansion of intensive production of fresh fruit and vegetables in the Mediterranean regions of south and west Europe. Much of this  depends on migrating workers for seasonal labour, including from Eastern Europe, North Africa and Latin America. This book is the first to address global agro-migration complexes across the region. By revealing the story of food commodities loaded with implications of private profit seeking, exploitation, exclusion and multiple insecurities, the book unmasks the hidden costs of fresh food.

“This excellent monograph, based on exceptionally rich historical and ethnographic case studies, exposures the ugly underbelly and the radical precarity of a contemporary industrial agriculture operating in the long shadow of economic and social crisis. A tour de force.” – Michael Watts, Professor of Geography, Class of 1963 Chair, University of California, Berkeley, USA

“Proof yet again there is no such thing as a free, or even cheap, lunch! It is a sophisticated book with many important take-home messages, one of which being that we can’t afford to keep eating this way.”- Michael Carolan, Professor and Chair of Sociology at Colorado State University, USA

“The book demonstrates that while “eating fresh” might engender visions of happy and healthy consumers, a more nuanced examination of the spatio-temporal dynamics of agri-food globalization reveals an underside of social disadvantage and ecological destruction…a “must read” for all scholars desiring a critical understanding of current global food provisioning.” – Geoffrey Lawrence, Professor of Sociology, University of Queensland, Australia and President, International Rural Sociology

New Book announcement

Congratulations also to Kiah Smith who has published a new book, Ethical Trade, Gender and Sustainable Livelihoods: Women Smallholders and Ethicality in Kenya

Fair and ethical trade is often criticized for being highly gendered, and for institutionalizing the ethical values of consumers, the priorities of NGOs and governments, and most of all, food retailers. But little is known about how women smallholder farmers experience diverse ethical standards, or whether and how standards reflect their values, local cultural and environmental contexts, or priorities for achieving sustainable livelihoods.

Linking gender, smallholder livelihoods and global ethical trade regulations, this book reveals that multiple understandings of social justice, environmental sustainability and well-being – or ethicality – exist in parallel to those institutionalized in ethical trade schemes. Through an in-depth case study of smallholder subsistence and French bean farming in Kenya, the book grounds the analysis of livelihoods, gender and ethical trade in women smallholders’ perspectives, links the macro level of markets with the micro level of livelihoods, and engenders relations of power, structure and agency in food networks. It brings together disparate bodies of theory to illustrate the knowledge, strategies and values of women smallholder farmers that are often beyond the scope of ethical trade regulations. It also provides a challenging new vision for doing food systems research.

New Book announcement

A big congratulations to Claire Nettle who has produced a shiny new book on community gardening!
Community Gardening as Social Action
Claire Nettle
Series : Transforming Environmental Politics and Policy: 2

There has been a resurgence of community gardening over the past decade with a wide range of actors seeking to get involved, from health agencies aiming to increase fruit and vegetable consumption to radical social movements searching for symbols of non-capitalist ways of relating and occupying space. Community gardens have become a focal point for local activism in which people are working to contribute to food security, question the erosion of public space, conserve and improve urban environments, develop technologies of sustainable food production, foster community engagement and create neighbourhood solidarity.

Drawing on in-depth case studies and social movement theory, Claire Nettle provides a new empirical and theoretical understanding of community gardening as a site of collective social action. This provides not only a more nuanced and complete understanding of community gardening, but also highlights its potential challenges to notions of activism, community, democracy and culture.

Contents: Community gardening: from leisure to social action; Garden views: seeing community gardens as sites of social change; Theorising collective action; Community gardening as activism; In the garden; Growing community; Creation: the politics of direct action and prefiguration; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author: Claire Nettle PhD is a community food systems researcher and consultant.

Reviews: ‘By showing that community gardening is often a deeply political act this book offers a profound challenge to dominant accounts of social movement activism. Nettle shows that community gardening is more than a cultural challenge and does not mean a retreat from real politics, rather it is a specific form of prefigurative activism intended to build communities anew. It is essential reading for all those with an interest in a deeper understanding of the relationship between activist strategies and everyday life practices.’
Brian Doherty, Keele University, UK

Key Speaker Recordings from Agrifood XX in Melbourne

The recordings of the keynote and plenary speakers at the Australasian Agrifood Research Network Conference, Melbourne, Dec 2013 are available.

Thanks so much to the Melbourne LOC who have made these available.

JENNIFER CLAPP: Navigating the New Global Politics of Food: From Distance to Resistance

Vodcast Playback:

Podcast Playback:

SARO RENGAM: Resistance and Reliance: People’s Struggle for Rights and Justice (starts about one third the way in)
Vodcast Playback:

Bill Pritchard: The Reality of Food Aid

“To solve global food insecurity, the first step is to know the right question to ask.”
Bill Pritchard, human geographer, challenges our views on what it takes to create a food-secure world.

Bill is an Associate Professor in Geography at the University of Sydney, where he teaches and researches on food, agriculture and rural and regional development. He embraces a geographer’s passion to understand the world, believing that the best way to understand an issue is to see it first hand and talk directly to the people involved.