|Monday, June 22|
The benefits of food growing for human and environmental health and wellbeing are well understood and documented. Food growing has the potential to (re)connect us to the land and to nature, to create strong and resilient communities, to increase biodiversity and improve green spaces, and to address climate change through reducing carbon emissions. It has beneficial effects for mental and physical health and wellbeing, and contributes to improved nutrition and dietary health. Yet it is not without challenges. While food growing is becoming increasingly popular in many urban areas, many people often say they lack the time or the skills to engage fully. Land for food growing is under pressure from other needs for housing, recreation or development. It is difficult for small-scale growers and farmers to compete with agri-intensive producers and large scale retailers that dominate our complex food systems. Despite these difficulties, food growing is receiving widespread popular and policy support. In the global north urban municipalities are drawing up local food policies, and creating multi-sector agencies to encourage and support food growing and local food. In the global south land sovereignty movements such as Via Campesina campaign for land reclamation for food growing to maintain livelihoods of small-scale farmers.
* Elizabeth Dinnie, The James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom
Time for transformation? Technology and tradition in food growing practices in urban areas
* Elizabeth Dinnie, The James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom
Current food systems are responsible for the greatest damage to the environment from human activity. It is widely acknowledged that it is time for a food system transformation. But to what? Imaginaries of future food production include increased urban agriculture – the growing of food in and around urban areas, as the global population becomes an increasingly urban population. Urban agriculture futures generally follow one of two main narratives, or paradigms. On the one hand there is the ‘traditional’ narrative, which supports local food growing, short supply chains, more seasonal produce and stronger relationships between producers and consumers. In many places this vision is flourishing, but questions arise about its affordability and sustainability. In the second narrative the future of food is to harness technology to produce new kinds of foods in new ways that are more sustainable and nutritious. In this vision questions about knowledge and power are paramount, as well as uncertainties about how new forms of production will change cultural practices involving food. This paper discusses these two paradigms and asks if we are at a timely point at which to examine the future of food production in and around cities, and the effects this may have on our relationships with the environment.
Transition towards climate smart agriculture - Longitudinal experiment of the VBN-theory
* Jaana Sorvali, Natural Resources Institute, Finland
Agriculture faces severe challenges due to climate change. For boreal agriculture, climate change will also bring possibilities as the growing season lengthens, if the risks are managed properly. Agriculture is also a source of greenhouse gases and on the other hand agricultural land has a great possibility to mitigate climate change as a carbon sink. Farmers are the central group for implementing these actions. Farmers were asked to reflect on their belief of climate change, personal experience and view of risks and possibilities, understanding of greenhouse gas sources in agriculture, felt responsibility and capacity to climate change action, actual climate change related behavior and values in a standardized survey in 2018. A representative sample of 4401 farmers responded and using structural equation modeling and the Stern (2000) theory of values-belief-norms (VBN) as a starting point, we found that the theory elements explain climate smart behavior of farmers and that adding new elements (such as personal experience of the risk, previous behavior and knowledge) increased the explanatory power of the model. Public discussion of climate change and the role of agriculture in it have rocketed in Finland from our 2018 survey to current date. As the media is an influential opinion shaper, we wanted to know if and how farmer opinions about climate change have changed and if this change is also visible via VBN-theory. For this purpose we drafted a follow-up survey in January 2020 to those farmers who answered the previous survey. We compare our VBN-model results from 2018 to the ones from 2020 to explore the longitudinal possibilities of the theory. With this study we aim also at discussing the role of media and public opinion in shaping farmers’ views and in bringing about transition and action towards climate smart agriculture.
Motivations on urban agriculture as determinants of health in deprived neighborhoods: Cases of two different cities
* Pierre Paul Audate, Université Laval, Canada
Innovative city food production initiatives are re-emerging in high-, middle-, and low-income countries. In recent years, urban agriculture (UA) has become widespread as one of multi-functional food production practices that shape urban food systems in different socioeconomic contexts. However, the presence of UA in deprived neighborhoods challenges researchers to understand that little is known about the characteristics and motivations of UA practitioners. Furthermore, there is limited information on how the motivations may differ across two different cities. The aim of this presentation is to examine the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations based on perceived benefits and challenges of UA practitioners in deprived neighborhoods of two cities with different socioeconomic contexts. A total of n= 36 UA practitioners and n=8 UA promotors were purposively interviewed in Montreal and Quito. We also used a questionnaire to obtain socioeconomic data of UA practitioners’ participants. The interview guides included open-ended questions to describe a typology and motivations of UA practitioners in the two cities. Amongst the salient points that emerged from the study, Psycho-Eco and Socio-engaged practitioners are more present in Montreal whereas the Expert and Heroic characterized the practitioners in Quito. The findings also indicate that the motivations in both cities are related to provision of healthy food, health and wellbeing, empowerment, social capital, and economic rewards. We argue that these motivations are health-related factors that should influence policies to encourage UA in deprived neighborhoods.
Food growing in home gardens in and around Quebec City: from pragmatic to expressive practices and meanings
Josyanne Proteau, Laval University, Canada
* Manon Boulianne, Laval University, Canada
Since the mid-1990’s, social research on urban agriculture has expanded dramatically. In Western Europe and North America, academics from different disciplines have studied shared (community and collective) gardens. In Quebec, the focus has been on their implementation dynamics and the social, environmental and economic impacts of these gardens (Boulianne 1999, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2014 ; Bouvier-Daclon et Sénécal 2001 ; Courville 2008 ; Duchemin et al. 2009 ; Paquette 2002 ; Reyburn 2002 ; Wegmuller et Duchemin 2010, among others). Home gardens are rather ignored in research on contemporary urban agriculture. Yet, they can reveal citizens’ concerns, understandings and ideas about the environment, health and, in general, their imaginaries of a desirable future. Our research aimed to document practices and meanings of home gardening in the city and the near countryside, as well as the transformations they have undergone over the past decades. During the summer of 2018, an ethnography of gardening was done by “following”, throughout the season, ten households from different generations who were tending a home garden. Participant observation, informal and semi-directed interviews were conducted in order to be able to describe and understand their gardening practices and their meanings. Results show that home gardening is no longer done out of obligation, to feed the family; practices based on order, cleanliness of rows, productivity, and the feeding function of gardens, which were dominant in the recent past, give way to more expressive ones. In younger gardeners’ narratives, in particular, ontological and environmental concerns clearly emerge. Such ethnographic work is a way of informally “consulting” individuals and can inform urban policy makers since it helps identifying people’s aspirations and ways of relating to the natural and built environment.
* Nazli Koseoglu, The James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom