Category Archives: News

New Book | Ethical Trade, Gender and Sustainable Livelihoods: Women Smallholders and Ethicality in Kenya

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: Community Gardening as Social Action

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.

Vacancy: Policy and Public Affairs Manager, World Cancer Research Fund International

Policy and Public Affairs Manager, World Cancer Research Fund International
Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to be part of the global community concerned with fighting the scourge of obesity, cancer and non-communicable diseases? WCRF International is looking for a talented and committed individual to play a key role in our policy activities. Our Policy and Public Affairs (PPA) Department, established in 2011, works at the global level to encourage the adoption of effective policies to prevent cancer and other non-communicable diseases through healthier diets and body weights, more physical activity and lower levels of alcohol intake. Our work ultimately aims to help people meet the WCRF International Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.
A major task of the PPA Manager will be managing a groundbreaking project of the PPA Department on keeping the evidence for policy updated. The project will involve substantial evidence reviews and require a high level of technical competence in understanding the effects and effectiveness of policy actions. The post-holder will play a lead role in this review process, draft outputs, and manage an external group of advisors.

New Zealand Special Issue Antipodean Agrifood Futures

Thanks to a sterling effort by the folk at Palmerston North, a special issue of New Zealand Sociology has been published. The papers in this special edition were presented at Agrifood 2012, and now its great to see them in print.

Congratulations to the editors and authors!

New Zealand Sociology Volume 28 Issue 4 2013
Journal of the Sociological Association of Aotearoa
New Zealand Special Issue Antipodean Agrifood Futures

Special Issue Editors: Corrina Tucker, Carolyn Morris and Michael Roche


Pg 3. Special Issue: Antipodean Agrifood Futures
Corrina Tucker, Carolyn Morris and Michael Roche


Pg 9. Imagining New Futures: Kaitiakitanga and Agri-Foods
Margaret Forster

Pg 33. How are Genetic Enclosures Shaping the Future of the Agrifood Sector?
Claire Parfitt

Pg 59. Healthy food, on whose terms? Negotiating new boundaries between food and medicine.
Alison Henderson

Pg 80. Agri-food activism and the imagination of the possible
Andrea Brower

Pg 101. Insects, offal, feet and faces: acquiring new tastes in New Zealand?
Corrina Tucker

Pg 123. Is ‘local food’ Sustainable? Localism, social justice, equity and sustainable food futures
Rebecca Duell

Pg 145. Final Word: Putting the “Alter” in Alternative Food Futures
Michael Carolan

The special issue has been sent to Nat Library:

AFSA People’s Food Plan

The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) – which includes Agrifooders amongst its numbers – is proud to present a vision for a fair food system in Australia, AFSA call it the People’s Food Plan.  The People’s Food Plan is a grass roots vision for a fair food system in Australia.

The idea for a grass roots driven food policy emerged following disappointment with the Federal Government’s National Food Plan, which privileges big business and makes no concessions for future environmental challenges, public health, or the maintenance of small-scale farming. With a network of dedicated and highly engaged volunteers,  the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance has consulted with over 600 people across Australia through ‘kitchen-table talks’. Please have a read, and let us know what you agree/disagree with, or what we have left out – details in the People’s Food Plan, or contact Carol Richards at


Declaration: Dr Carol Richards is the Convenor of the Australasian Agrifood Research Network and an ordinary member of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance committee


IJSAF: Call for papers

International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Special issue: Global shocks, changing agricultural policy and the viability of rural communities

Guest editors: Hilde Bjørkhaug and Katrina Rønningen, Centre for Rural Research, Trondheim, Norway.,

Recent global shocks and perceptions of their dimensions – uncertain food stocks, the aftermath of the last financial crisis and the new crisis many now are facing, reconstruction of stable economies, climate change and extreme weather events, energy pricing and shortage – all influence state dispositions and priorities regarding agriculture and food production. Given this, they also impact the future of rural areas. This special issue of IJSAF engages with this issue at several levels.

First, what are the prospects for a new political-international regime, where the moral and economic imperatives increasingly focus on food production? Could the environment and rural communities be protected from extreme market fluctuations?

In Europe and some other places, multifunctional agricultural policies have, in addition to securing food production, been designed to also support other outcomes, primarily sustaining rural communities, landscapes, biodiversity and cultural heritage. In these agricultural policies, multifunctional agriculture has been seen as the industrial backbone of the rural community and the basis for the diversification and development of new rural businesses. Others have criticized such policies for propping up unviable European producers and disadvantaging struggling farmers in developing nations. Policy instruments in Europe and elsewhere are now moving towards a decoupling of support away from agricultural production towards rural development, land stewardship and rural housing. This special issue of IJSAF examines the effects of multifunctional policies within and outside Europe; and how multifunctionality is being taken up and adapted in other parts of the world as part of a response to pressing environmental issues. Will we see a continuing rise of green and /or rural subsidies? What kinds of instruments are viewed as legitimate?

Secondly at a different level, what are the consequences of changing agricultural policy for rural communities? Is agriculture necessary to sustain them or vice versa? Is agriculture sustainable without rural communities? Changing conditions for agriculture require new and innovative ways of creating a rural livelihood for those who want to live a rural lifestyle. What are the preconditions for the sustainability, and/or creation, of rural diversity? Do existing regulations and property structures enable new rural development? What are the consequences of changing land use for landscapes, cultural heritage and biodiversity?

The third level is related to the situation for rural populations under different policy regimes. This includes indicators such as gender, age profile, poverty, health, exclusion, class and culture. Who stays, who leaves and who enters rural areas under shifting policies?

Authors are invited to submit an abstract addressing empirical and theoretical issues related to global shocks, changing agricultural policy and the viability of rural communities reflecting the parameters indicated above.

Abstracts will be selected based on quality and whether they fit into a coherent issue.


15 June 2012: Submission of abstracts (300 words)

1 July 2012: Notification to authors if abstracts have been selected for special issue

1 November 2012: Submission of full papers (6000-8000 words)

1 March 2013: Reviewer comments to authors

1 June 2013: Submission of final revised papers by authors to editors

October 2013: Publication

Submission of Abstracts

Please send your abstracts by 15 June 2012 to: Hilde Bjørkhaug

Abstracts should include a title, list of authors, contact details, a concise description of the envisioned paper, an identification of the relationship between the envisioned paper and at least one of the suggested themes, and up to five keywords. Full papers are expected by 1 November 2012 after which they will be sent out for peer review. A decision on the papers will be communicated to the authors by the editors by 1 March 2013. Publication is expected in October 2013.