Just Food?

Just Food?

Just Food? Mutual Exchange Network on Just Food System Transitions

Project Overview

This action research project, funded from April 2021 to March 2022 by the British Academy, will establish a mutual exchange network that will examine and compare conceptions of, approaches to, and strategies for, achieving the just transition of food systems in four contexts (Brazil, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and the UK). The network will engage critical food system actors in each context in a series of participatory workshops organised by local civil society organisations (CSOs) concerned with food systems and food justice, who will then share and contrast the collected data in a series of online interregional engagement meetings with a selection of international food system advocacy organisations and the interdisciplinary research team. Outcomes from the project will include academic articles, policy briefs, an online portal presenting the multimedia data collected and all published outputs, and the new interregional network itself, which will continue to grow and connect further food system actors, national and international CSOs, and scholars beyond the period of funding. 


This action-research project will establish a mutual exchange network on just food system transitions including food system actors from four usually unconnected geographies. This will be a space for dialogue, exchange and learning between local food system actors working and advocating for justice in the food system. It will include organisations and movements linked to the right to food, women’s rights, and agroecological transitions, as well as the policymakers in each case central to the realisation of just food transitions and European advocacy NGOs important for larger global policy change. The primary goal is to establish a trans-scalar (local, national, international) and interregional (Europe, South America, Southern Africa, West Africa) network of actors engaged in food system transitions, which includes the experiences of many who have yet to be given the attention they deserve in debates about sustainable development. 

Primary Research Questions 
The project is designed to address three central research questions:

1)     How do local food system actors describe their current and their ideal ‘just’ food systems?
2)     What steps must be taken to achieve a ‘just transition’ to such ideal food systems?
3)     What resources, supports or capacities do food system actors require to achieve a ‘just transition’?


Dr Gearoid Millar

Senior Lecturer and Head of Sociology

University of Aberdeen




Dr Lidia Cabral

Research Fellow

Institute of Development Studies




Dr Melanie Levick-Parkin

Senior Lecturer Visual Communication

Sheffield Hallam University




Dr Iva Pesa

Assistant Professor of Contemporary History

University of Groningen




Mr Matías Volonterio

Research Assistant

University of Aberdeen



National Partners

Brighton Food Factory, UK

Green Earth Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone

ASPTA - Family Farming and Agroecology, Brazil

Zambia Land Alliance, Zambia 

International Partners

Bread for all


FIAN International

Land Workers Alliance


The projecs foresees the following outputs:

  • the establishment of the Just Food? Network, which will materialise through a series of workshops and online meetings;
  • an online Just Food? Network portal, featuring information about partners and all project activities, the multimedia data collected, and all published outputs;
  • a policy-focused seminar at the Institute of Development Studies inviting UK-based policy actors such as the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office;
  • opinion/blog pieces from members of the network, posted in connection to each online exchange;
  • one academic publication on just food transitions in an indexed thematic journal (e.g. Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment or The Journal of Peasant Studies), co-authored with the lead CSOs from each location; and a proposal on how to consolidate and expand the network beyond the funded 12 months.