Oxford Food Forum Conference 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Oxford Food Forum Conference 2015

Culture, Food, & The Environment:  New Perspectives On Food Sovereignty And Security

Date: May 2, 2015

Location:  St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

 

About The Conference

There is increasing recognition across multiple disciplines that culture and society shapes food systems on multiple levels—from selection of foods and genetics of crops to diverse systems of production, distribution, and consumption. These systems are often conceived of as ‘biocultural’ systems, whereby human and nature are inextricably linked. In understanding and addressing the challenges these systems face, it is apparent that one cannot separate the “bio” from the “cultural”. The systems are often adapted to local environmental conditions (e.g. climate, geography, soil) and consist of a robust body of local knowledge about the landscape, local/traditional varieties, and natural resources management, which holds promises for a more sustainable future and yet doesn’t often fit into our typical view of food systems. As such, many of these biocultural systems are being lost at accelerating rates due to pressures from globalization and environmental change.

Bringing together researchers from the social and natural sciences as well as practitioners, this interdisciplinary, student-led conference will look at the interplay between culture, food, and the environment. Such framing necessarily shifts the discussion from global food systems to local food systems, although the effects of and implications for large scale food production are important and should also be considered. The conference will examine the role of policy in helping or hindering these systems, as well as the ethics around upscaling or sourcing the plants, animals, and insects that comprise them. Finally, conference discussions will explore what new ‘futures of food’ are arising (or might arise), given recent shifts in how we conceptualize food sovereignty and security.

 

2015 Programme and Biographies

The conference is divided into the following three major themes:

Biocultural Diversity & the Environment: Recent research from plant sciences, ethnobiology, and geography indicate that culture plays a key role (historically and in the present) in contributing to the biological and genetic diversity of plant, animal, and insect food sources (e.g. landraces, heritage varieties). At the same time, anthropological research has highlighted the role of social practices (e.g. trait selection, geographic movement, social exchange of resources) in the sustainable use of these natural resources and the resilience of local communities to environmental change. Papers using case studies/field research are invited to explore this link between society and resource exploitation, and the effect of environmental and social change on biocultural resources and the food systems around them.

Policy, Ethics, & Resilience: Increasingly, international, national, and local policies have focused on generating new guidelines on land use, access to natural resources, and movement across landscapes in order to promote biodiversity, sustainable land use, and social resilience. Although beneficial at times, these policies can inadvertently threaten social systems of food production by promoting a particular dominant or Western ideal. Papers are invited that examine the ethical implications around access to land, upscaling/sourcing marginal foods, and how to generate dialogue between stakeholders.

New Perspectives & Applied Research: How can new ways of conceiving food security and food sovereignty contribute to applied projects focusing on food systems? These might include: analysis of the discourse around food security, models for ethical food production/sourcing/consumption, and insights from other cultures about what it means to be ‘food secure.’ Papers focusing on the challenges in moving from academic to applied research, or implementing academic-generated policies/models, are also encouraged.

 

Oxford Food Forum Conference 2014

Food Security Research: Critical Perspectives And Marginalized Issues

Date: May 4, 2014

Location: University of Oxford, United Kingdom

 

Conference Description

We live in the midst of a multiplicity of food uncertainties requiring in-depth analyses at many levels. The question of food security - concerned with the availability, access and utilization of food - is riddled with paradoxical challenges. For example, enough food is grown to feed the world's entire population, yet approximately 1 billion people go hungry each year. Malnutrition can manifest as both under-nutrition and, increasingly, obesity. Vast numbers of people migrate toward opportunity in urban centers only to experience unemployment, elevated cost of living, and exacerbated social unrest alongside unaffordable food staples.

This one-day conference brings together researchers, students, policy-makers, private sector consultants and others to share novel insights and critical perspectives on marginalized issues in research and policy-based food security discourse.

 

2014 Programme and Biographies

 

Oxford Food Forum Conference 2013

Food And Uncertainty: The Past, Present And Future Of Food Security

Date: Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Venue: 64 Banbury Road, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

 

We live in the midst of a multiplicity of food uncertainties requiring in-depth analyses at multiple levels. The question of food security - concerned with the availability, access and utilization of food - is riddled with paradoxical challenges. For example, enough food is grown to feed the world's entire population, yet approximately 1 billion people go hungry each year. Malnutrition can manifest as both under-nutrition and, increasingly, obesity. Vast numbers of people migrate toward opportunity in urban centers only to experience unemployment, elevating cost of living, and exacerbated social unrest alongside unaffordable food staples.

 

This one-day conference brought together researchers, students, policy-makers, private sector consultants and others to share insights into the past, present, and future of food uncertainties grappled with globally.

Oxford Food Forum Conference 2012

Urban Food Security: Global Perspectives, Local Evidence

Date: February 25, 2012

Location: University of Oxford, United Kingdom

 

This conference convened scholars, students, and practitioners from a variety of institutions to share current research and facilitate collaboration related to urban food security. 

Graduate students, researchers and practitioners from diverse areas including African Studies, Anthropology, Development Studies, Economics, Geography, Politics, and Public Health presented original work.

Sub-themes included:

  • Obesity and Urban Food Security
  • Global Price Dynamics, Food Commodities, and Food Futures
  • Malnutrition: What are the Urban Poor Eating and Why?
  • Rural-Urban Linkages and Livelihoods
  • The Potential of Urban Agriculture
  • HIV/AIDS and Food Security
  • Migration and Food Security
  • The Juncture of Poverty and Food Security
  • Urban Social Networks and Food Security
  • Within-Household Dynamics and Food Access
  • Informal Markets, Supermarkets, Hyper-markets: Food Sources

 

 

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