8th Annual Conference of the AESOP Sustainable food planning group:
“Re-imagining sustainable food planning, building resourcefulness: Food movements, insurgent planning and heterodox economics”
Hosted by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, Coventry, UK,14-15 November 2017
After seventeen years from its early conceptualisation, and ten years on from its institutionalisation (Van der Valk and Viljoen 2014), sustainable food planning is a thriving transdisciplinary research and policy field bringing together policy makers, academics, and practitioners across the globe. Food charters, food strategies and food policy councils have multiplied, ‘alternative food networks’ have gained significant and growing shares of the food market and new forms of localisation of food production, including urban agriculture, are gaining ground and becoming central components of new food policy strategies.
Yet, the scale and speed of the ‘food’ crisis make us see these achievements as modest and utterly inadequate. Urban food poverty and malnutrition, and the related use of food banks, are on the rise even in some of the most wealthy countries of the world; the most vulnerable populations in both the global North and South are unshielded by austerity politics, food-commodity speculation, land grabbing or staple food price rises. Diet-related diseases (such as diabetes and obesity) are growing at alarming rates among children in the supposedly ‘well-fed’ countries of the world. We still waste between 30% and 50% of the food we produce while millions of farmers and land workers growing our food across the globe are struggling to make a living. And the environmental impacts of our food ‘regime’ and diets are devastating.
Planning for sustainable food production and food provision is more than ever urging us to look for more effective, equitable and just approaches that radically change not only the way we grow food, but the very core of our living space.
This 8th annual conference of the AESOP sustainable food planning group is dedicated to discussing ideas, approaches and practices that can help to re-invent food planning in light of the need to build a resourceful, agroecological, urbanism.
Inspired by a seminal paper from Derickson and MacKinnon (2013), we use the term ‘resourceful’ as a particular way of intending the concept of ‘resilience’: an urbanism that creates the conditions for its inhabitants to control the means of their social reproduction, to have a say on, or directly control, the resources for their own survival; a space where land, water and nutrients serve the needs of the people (rather than profit), while respecting the ecosystem. A ‘resourceful’ urbanism creates living conditions that enable people to be resilient while at the same time challenging the root causes of the crisis that require us to look for resilience.
With ‘agroecological’ we explicitly refer to practices aligned to ‘peasant agroecology’ and the agroecology movement: a way of cultivating the soil, managing ecological relations and disposing of the produce that respects the environment and is based on cultural and social arrangements inspired by solidarity and mutuality.
By ‘urbanism’ we refer to more than just buildings, zoning or planning. We refer to ensembles of the built environment and its regulation, the material infrastructure and the collective arrangements (for food provision, waste collection, land management, urban design, housing, energy and so forth) that are in place and to which we are all subjected. We include the urban, the peri-urban and the rural realm, and reflect on their mutual interconnections and dependencies.
While food has entered the planning agenda more than a decade ago, a resourceful and agroecological urbanism –which is more than closing metabolic loops through urban agriculture – is yet to be conceptualised. An urbanism in which food is not the latest ‘fix’ to be added as a new way to market, but rather a key and long forgotten component around which new and just social arrangements, ecological practices and ways of life must be reinvented.
In this conference we look for contributions that valorise and bring to the fore the multiplicity of marginal, residual, heterodox or unheard experiences, policies, concepts and practices that are already creating new worlds in innovative and socially just ways, and/or bear the potential of becoming building blocks of sustainable food planning for a resourceful, agroecological, urbanism.
We are also interested in critical contributions that reflect on how current mainstream approaches to food production, food strategies and urban agriculture can be/are being radically transformed into tools for resourcefulness.
Presentations can have a practical, theoretical, political or methodological focus.
We particularly look for critical contributions that address one or more of the following five sub-themes:
- theoretical re-conceptualisations of urbanism (and its peri-urban and rural surroundings) in relation to food planning (including discussions on the interlink between new and old urban and agrarian questions; critical discussions on planetary urbanisation, post-suburbia, insurgent urbanism; new ontological and epistemological definitions of urbanism; etc.)
- political processes and strategies (urban political agroecology; pathways for radicalising and/or steering local, national or global agri-food strategies; experiences of people’s led urban food policies and planning; justice and rights-based legal challenges; urban-based food, water and land access movements; experiences linking agrarian and urban food sovereignty movements; community self-organisation; etc.)
- resourceful land management (including, for example, land reforms and land tax; common good land use; regulation or incentives that turns urban vacant spaces into food producing sites; regulation of private property rights in relation to land depletion and environmental degradation; innovative waste and nutrients management in urban areas; land and water rights; urban metabolism; innovative and radical ways to reshape urban-rural links);
- urban agroecological practices (including for example experiences that experiment with food producing and socio-environmentally just urban agriculture, urban agroforestry, urban permaculture, organic indoor production, rooftop and vertical growing, edible public space; foraging-enabling urban planning and design; urban water management; etc.);
- post-capitalist economics (including food de-commodification, solidarity and shared economy, micro-farming, urban patchwork farms, community kitchens, food commoning and conviviality, alternative currencies, new urban commons sharing food, housing, and livelihoods, etc.…),
We are open to receiving papers that draw either from the Global North or the Global South, but we also encourage contributions that reflect on the cross fertilisation and reciprocal learning among these geographical contexts.
We would like to tailor as many sessions as possible to the needs and language of non-academics such as local policy makers, practitioners and activists. Please indicate if you are willing to do so when sending your abstract.
Note: this conference is open to all, academics, practitioners, civil servants and grassroots activists – members and non-members of the AESOP ‘Sustainable food planning’ group. We encourage participants to join the group -which is free of charge- by emailing the secretary (Arnold Van Der Valk, firstname.lastname@example.org) and joining our JISC mailing list here: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?SUBED1=AESOP-SFP-GROUP&A=1
Submission of abstracts:
To submit your abstract, please fill in the form here:
Deadline for submission of abstracts:
1st April 2017 14 April 2017
Beside the conference proceedings, which will be published online after the conference, we are looking to produce one or more high-quality academic publications (a book, a journal special issue or both) with the most interesting works presented at the conference. Participants that wish to be considered for selection will be asked to send a draft of their paper (min 3000 words) in advance of the conference. More details will follow.
Call for papers released: end of January 2017
Abstract submission deadline:
1st April 2017 extended to 14 April 2017
Notification of acceptance: by 31st May 2017
Registration opens: 1st June 2017
Registration ‘early birds’ ends: 15th July 2017
Deadline for long abstracts/draft papers (3000 words): 31st July 2017
Deadline for full papers: 1st November 2017