Last week at the Annual Meeting of the AAG in New Orleans, Eugene and Nathan presented at a paper session entitled "Towards Integrated Food Systems Governance", organized by Charles Levkoe and Luke Craven. Our presentation, entitled "Beyond food: Rethinking governance through urban agriculture", drew on an article manuscript currently under preparation for submission to Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. Here's a revised abstract:
While urban agriculture (UA) has played a prominent symbolic and material role in municipal sustainability efforts, many UA advocates and scholars are questioning UA’s ability to deliver on its promised contributions to food systems and urban greening. Advocates in Portland, OR and Vancouver, BC are demanding greater equity and inclusivity, as well as more radical calls for decolonization and the indigenization of food systems. Many use UA to address social issues beyond food. In this paper we ask: How can using ‘everyday governance’ as a lens help us to understand UA and its contested role within cities? And how does studying the governance of UA, in particular, contribute to our conceptualization of governance more generally? Drawing on interview and survey data collected in the two cities, we observe that municipal attempts to domesticate UA have generated new discontents, fueling efforts to look beyond institutional governance structures. We identify three primary dimensions of UA’s transformation -- space, content, and process -- but also note that translation of these changes into formal spheres of governance appears to be minimal, stymied both by a lack of race/ethnic/class diversity in public engagement processes, and by bureaucratic hurdles and political gatekeeping. We conclude that the concept of everyday governance sheds light on the limits and possibilities of UA’s role as a gateway to justice work, not only within integrated food policy, but also within wider-reaching, equity-oriented social policy.
You can download a PDF of our powerpoint presentation here.
We're organizing a session on "Food, Justice, and the City" at the Canadian Association of Geographers/International Geographical Union conference, which will be held in Québec City from August 6 to 11th. Here's our call for papers:
Food, Justice, and the City
Canadian Association of Geographers / International Geographical Union
Québec City, August 6 – 10, 2018
Nathan McClintock (Urban Studies & Planning, Portland State University), Christiana Miewald (Geography, Simon Fraser University), and Eugene McCann (Geography, Simon Fraser University)
Food – and its production, processing, distribution, and consumption in urban spaces – has become an increasingly prominent and politicized aspect of discussions about the governance and livability of cities. Yet, critical food scholars in geography and related disciplines have increasingly questioned the progressive potential of the contemporary 'food movement' on several grounds. One line of critique sheds light on how food advocates and activists are inadvertently complicit in processes of neoliberalization (Pudup, 2008; Rosol, 2012). A second line of critique challenges 'the local' as a normative scale of intervention, and warns against reducing food justice to a spatial problem that can be easily ameliorated by constructing a garden or grocery store in a food desert (Miewald & McCann, 2014; Shannon, 2014). Finally, another critique draws on critical race theory to argue that food movements are often constructed as white spaces (Ramírez, 2015; Slocum, 2007; Reynolds & Cohen, 2016), where “bringing good food to others” (Guthman, 2008) re-inscribes paternalistic, colonial patterns of oppression of people of colour. A subset of scholars parallels this critique by applying the concept of 'food sovereignty' to urban contexts in North America. Food sovereignty not only underscores resistance to the hegemony of the global agri-food system, but also the need for low-income communities of colour to determine what and how to eat (Block et al., 2012; Bradley & Galt, 2014; Daigle, 2017; Desmarais & Wittman, 2014).
While each of these lines of critique offers important insights into the politics and practice of food movements, explicit engagement with urban and political theory is only beginning to gain traction (Corcoran, Kettle, & O’Callaghan, 2017; Eizenberg, 2012; McClintock, 2014, 2018; Purcell & Tyman, 2014; Safransky, 2017; Stehlin & Tarr, 2017). The goal of this paper session is therefore to foreground the political economic processes that shape the urban food movement, including conflicts between multiple forms and scales of governance, and to highlight the connections between questions of urban food, broadly defined, politics, and social justice. Through the contributions to the session, we hope to better clarify and differentiate the multiple – and sometimes contradictory – roles that food plays in shaping the contemporary city.
The session will include, but will not be limited to, contributions on some of the following topics:
· Food justice/food sovereignty/social justice and the city
· The right to food / the right to the city
· Critical perspectives on urban food policy and planning
· Institutional vs. everyday governance of urban food
· Circulating knowledge and models of urban food justice
· Foodscape approaches to understanding urban food
· Eco/green gentrification and urban agriculture
· The role of urban agriculture in social/political/racial justice
· Alterity in urban food movements
· The racial politics of urban food
· Indigenous perspectives on urban food
· Urban food and social reproduction
· Gender, race, and food labour in cities
· Land and urban food
Interested authors are invited to submit a 250-word abstract to Nathan McClintock (firstname.lastname@example.org), Christiana Miewald (email@example.com), and Eugene McCann (firstname.lastname@example.org) by February 15th. Per CAG/IGU conference requirements, the abstract must describe the object of study, research problem, methods, and conclusions.
Nathan will be giving a talk on our research project at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) next week, on Tuesday, November 7th at 12:30pm.
Here's the blurb (in French) from the host, Laboratoire Agriculture Urbaine:
Les jardins individuels pour la durabilité ou la sécurité alimentaire? Différences socio-spatiales à travers des quartiers de Portland et de Vancouver
Par Nathan McClintock, Professeur agrégé d’études urbaines et urbanisme, Portland State University
Le Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine a le plaisir de recevoir Nathan McClintock, professeur à Portland State University. En plus d’être l’un des collaborateurs de AU/LAB, particulièrement dans le cadre d’une recherche portant sur l’évaluation de l’agriculture urbaine comme infrastructure verte de résilience individuelle et collective face aux changements climatiques et sociaux dans la région de Montréal, Nathan McClintock est un chercheur reconnu internationalement en l’agriculture urbaine. S’engageant en politiques écologiques urbaines, urbanisme critique et planification de systèmes alimentaires, sa recherche examine largement la relation entre l’urbanisation, les systèmes agro-alimentaires et l’environnement. Actuellement, son focus primaire est sur l’agriculture urbaine et la justice alimentaire dans les villes nord-américaines.
Dans le cadre de cette conférence, Nathan McClintock présentera les résultats d’une étude sur les jardins individuels dans huit quartiers de Portland et de Vancouver Portland (Oregon, États-Unis) et Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique, Canada). Portland et Vancouver sont deux villes réputées pour l’engagement envers le développement durable, ainsi que pour l’agriculture urbaine (AU). Celle-ci contribue à la renommée des deux villes en tant que « villes vertes ». Les deux villes ont mis en place des politiques pour promouvoir l’AU, notamment le soutien aux jardins communautaires et aux fermes urbaines. Toutefois, pour que la politique et la planification de l’AU puissent profiter également aux jardiniers qui cultivent à la maison, on a besoin d’une meilleure compréhension des raisons pour lesquelles les individus pratiquent l’AU. Beaucoup de ces motivations sont liées à des facteurs socio-économiques – revenu, éducation, origine ethnique, etc. – qui sont inégaux d’un quartier à l’autre. Les données cartographiques et d’enquête révèlent un paysage inégal de jardins individuels et une diversité de motivations à travers les deux villes.
We're happy to announce the launch of our new project website www.UrbanAg.info ! It's a work in progress, so be sure to check back now and again for updates on our project (the Home page provides an overview of the project and research questions). We've been collecting data over the past two years -- interviews, focus groups, mail and internet surveys, mapping -- and are now beginning to sift through and analyze the massive amount of data we've collected. Visit the Publications page to download any and all articles, chapters, reports, etc, that come out of our collaboration. Also be sure to explore the Portland and Vancouver pages for links to key municipal policy documents related to urban agriculture in each city, as well as links to various departments, agencies, and non-profits/charities engaged in urban agriculture work in the two cities.