Initial findings from the British Academy-funded project, entitled Just Food? Mutual Exchange Network on Just Food System Transitions, have emerged from the first of three rounds of participatory workshops based in Brazil and England.
Held by the Brighton Food Factory and AS-PTA, the findings touch on local specificities, how society rediscovers and reconnects with food, intersecting injustices, and the intensification of feelings of solidarity since Covid-19 unfolded.
Writing about the findings on the School of Social Science blog, Dr Lídia Cabral, a Research Fellow at Institute for Development Studies and member of the Just Food? project, explains how the project draws on action-research to work with advocacy organisations in Brazil, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and Britain to compare conceptions and strategies for achieving the just transition of food systems.
Emerging from this exchange, there is a sense that just food transitions are not about fixing failures of the current system in an effort to ‘build back better’. They are, instead, about pursuing fundamentally different pathways that reconceptualise food and food relations
Part of the process identifies commonalities between locations: in the case of revaluing food, the findings centred on the symbolic importance of food: for example, the Brighton group reflected on the need to understand the seasons and reduce food waste, while in Rio de Janeiro, community gardens represented sites of education and refuge from the pandemic.
The project is lead by Dr Gearoid Millar (University of Aberdeen), Dr Lídia Cabral (Institute for Development Studies), Dr Melanie Levick-Parkin (Sheffield Hallam University), Dr Iva Pesa (University of Groningen), and Matías Volonterio (University of Aberdeen).