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What we have done, how, and why

The Food citizens? team has included two post-docs, three Ph.D. candidates and two research assistants working with the Principal Investigator. The Winter School involved nine Masters and Ph.D. candidates from the universities of Bologna, Gothenburg, Kaunas, Leiden, Louvain, Tromsø, Turin and Utrecht.

Beginning in 2017, the project involved a literature review on the topics of solidarity, diversity, skills and scale in the anthropology of food, as well as case study essays on urban agriculture, short food chains, and local food councils authored by Robin Smith and available open access on our project’s public resources portal.

The PhD candidates received bespoke training in audiovisual methods and participated in dedicated seminars with experts in the topics and regions they studied. Guest speakers included ERC laureates Tim Ingold, Erik Bähre, Anouk de Koning, Marianne Maeckelbergh, Martijn Koster, NWO-VICI winner Bart Barendregt and Spinoza laureate Birgit Meyer.

Three symposia were held to discuss work in progress with the project’s advisory board  in 2018, 2019 and 2020 in the cities of Leiden and Gdańsk. Local restitution workshops are being planned in the cities of Turin and Gdańsk.

The project blog documents the multiple ways in which team members have participated in local and international societal debates, in person and online, through workshops, conference presentations, and media engagement.

The Ph.D. candidates conducted 17 months of fieldwork each in the cities of Gdansk, Rotterdam and Turin respectively (including the COVID outbreak in 2020), interspersed with periods of intensive teamwork. These ‘taking stock’ periods were aimed at progressively constructing a matrix of case studies, reporting on first findings and synergizing insights, hurdles and directions taken in the field. Ethnographic field-sites were identified and brainstormed for their potential significance in the contexts of food self-procurement, short food chains and food governance. They were investigated, according to the project’s research protocol, with the method of participant observation with an additional battery of qualitative methods including in-depth interviews, mapping, documentary analysis, focus groups and video- or photo-elicitation.

Scientific and Societal Impact

The project’s Digital Platform, edited and coded by Federico De Musso, represent this field research in a synoptic and comparative way.

The teams’ publications and featured dissemination activities examine the different types, premises and consequences of collective forms of food production, distribution and consumption in the three European cities and beyond.

The project’s Winter School crowned the PhD candidates’ four-year long period of research, engagement and apprenticeship by passing on the project’s methodological tool-kit to a selected cohort of nine Master and Ph.D. candidates. The project’s conference presented the first results of the field research, the Digital Platform and the Winter School projects.

The project continues until February 2024, investing in scientific dissemination and societal engagement.

Forthcoming milestones include the launch of the i-doc on the project’s website, two journal special issues (on Collaboration, Comparison and Mediation for Anthrovision VANEASA online journal and on Skills for Sustainability for KE, the Journal of Swedish Anthropology), and two ‘restitution workshops’ with stakeholders and scholars in the cities of Gdańsk and Turin.

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