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One year of dissemination and engagement

Besides the project Conference and Winter School, the Food Citizens? research has profiled in numerous societal and interdisciplinary venues, online and offline, over the last year. Here is a brief summary with linked online resources.

On January 10th 2022, the project team presented their joint research to the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of Leiden University, which hosts the Food Citizens? project. Ph.D. candidates Ola Gracjasz, Maria Vasile and Vincent Walstra presented selected results of their fieldwork together with Principal Investigator Cristina Grasseni, focusing on food markets as case studies in the cities of Gdańsk, Rotterdam, and Turin within the framework of the ‘Food Citizens?’ project. They  discussed the different meanings behind concepts such as solidarity and diversity through a comparative lens, and shared their experiences and reflections on collaboration as a methodology after working closely as a team for four years.  


On November 30th 2021, Cristina Grasseni presented the project to the Research Team Institutions for Collective Action, a highly interdisciplinary group (sociologists, anthropologists, historians, social business experts) coordinated by Tine de Moor at the Rotterdam School of Management of Erasmus University, who are constructing the knowledge repository CollectieveKracht, looking at citizen collectivities from different expertise angles.

On October 26th 2021, Cristina Grasseni presented the Food Citizens? project to Future Food Utrecht, one of the four research hubs under Utrecht University’s strategic theme Pathways to Sustainability. The online lecture opened their series on ‘inclusive transformation of food systems’ (focusing on food policy, behaviour, culture, justice and equality), and was followed by a response by Manpreet Janeja, cultural anthropologist and food scholar whose research focuses on the importance of food to social relations and identity, including trust, power and conflict. Discussion was led by Future Food board member Eggo Müller, whose research includes questions such as media as food intermediaries, food communication & cultures, and pathways to sustainable and healthy food systems.

In October 13-15th 2021, Cristina Grasseni attended the Boerenlandbouw Conferentie, the conference of the Dutch agro-ecological movement. This was a three-day of workshops, community-building and co-learning in Dordrecht, jointly organized by the Dutch CSA network, Farmers for the Future and the Dutch Federation of agro-ecological farmers. Together with Vincent Walstra, she participated as speaker in the Dordrecht’s Citizen-Farmer dialogue, a talkshow featuring in the Dordse Voedselvierdaagse, organised by Drechstadsboer in the framework of Dutch Food Week. The programme was streamed live by RTV Dordrecht by Via Cultura. Subsequently, nitrogen-crisis expert and Environmental Sustainability professor Jan-Willem Erisman together with Cristina Grasseni opened the Agroecology Conference at Leiden University on October 16th, a day of collective reflection followed by the establishment of theme-based working groups during which Toekomstboeren, CSA Netwerk and Federatie van Agroecologische Boeren amongst others worked together to congeal as an agroecology movement.

On June 28th 2021, the Conference Re-Territorializing Agriculture. Between the Promotion of Local Products and Trade in Europe (Louvain-la-Neuve) invited presentations from Federico De Musso (‘Between Sheep Territory and Wine Terroir, perspectives on territoriality from the Pyrenees’) and Cristina Grasseni (The role of citizens in innovative food supply chains. Work-in-progress results from the Food Citizens project’). Co-organized by Nicolas Loodts, Julie Hermesse, Christine Frison and Nicolas Dendoncker, this interdisciplinary colloquium explored ways to build resilience in European food systems.

On June 10th 2021, Cristina Grasseni was invited speaker in the Plenary Opening Session of the Conference of the Italian Geographical Society, chaired by Egidio Dansero, and dedicated to the topic ‘Geography and Food: spaces, places, landscapes, regions, and territories of food’. Together with scholars from law, urban studies sociology, agrarian economy, history and political sciences, she participated in an ‘undisciplined dialogue’ (thus non-disciplinary rather than inter-disciplinary) on the relationship between the in-depth understanding of contexts, and knowledge of and through food. The conference was held online as part of the activities of Turin’s University project Atlante del Cibo, translatable as Atlas of the Food of the Metropolitan City of Turin) and featured also Food Citizens? team member Maria Vasile, who presented a critical analysis of the city’s social food gardens in the framework of urban regeneration, city branding and ‘foodification’.

On 22nd April 2021, Cristina Grasseni was one of four keynote speakers at the (online) National Dialogue on ‘food as a key factor for a healthy planet’. Organized by Voedsel Anders, the World Food Forum and Ons Eten Den Haag, the webinar program, video, and summary are available (in Dutch) here. Vincent Walstra contributed to the discussion with his work on social solidarity in the city of Rotterdam illustrating the collaboration among different food networks during the COVID emergency to deliver (free) food.

On 13th April 2021, the project and team research featured at the Livable Planet – Livable Communities priority research cluster of Leiden University. The questions discussed were: what are the diverse societal imaginaries about citizens in food transitions? Is this diversity represented in policy and global discourse about transition to sustainability? Cristina Grasseni shared some work-in-progress conclusions, namely that food procurement must be investigated and understood beyond ‘sustainability fixes’, and that we need to have a more complex and diverse approach to scalability: ‘one size does not fit all’, because societal and economic contexts of transitions to (food) sustainability are too diverse to be encompassed under one model.

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