Thursday, June 15, 2017

Why support the small-scale urban food sector?

On the way to work today, I heard that what's in the news is the single greatest predictor of where people decide to donate their money. So, I thought I'd give you a few newsy facts about why supporting urban food systems is important:
  • The share of Africans living in urban areas is projected to grow from 36 percent in 2010 to 50 percent by 2030. Thus far, not much planning has occurred to deal with an impending worsening of urban food security.
  • Inequality in Africa is rising…/african-inequality-rising/ People need jobs. The urban food sector is already thriving and the barriers to working in it are low. Supporting it to do better is 'low hanging fruit' in relation to improving city well-being.
  • the urban food sector is a major employer of women and the working poor, two groups of people who often don't have access to additional resources, but who could definitely use them!
  • those who work in the urban food sector are often disenfranchised and harassed by city officials. One major aspect of our program is that we work w/the municipality to bridge this divide:…/2017-05-01-why-brutalising-food-vendo… (Did you know the Arab Spring was set off by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor that had been brutalized time and time again?

Supporting an inclusive and sustainable food system that improves the income margins of the people who work there and maintains access to nutritious food at affordable prices is the goal of the practicum. Help us out by supporting our work!

 FIP Student, Lindsay, interviews a retailer in Lilongwe's Tsoka Market. Credit: Alyssa Cleland
FIP Student, Lindsay, interviews a retailer in Lilongwe's Tsoka Market. Credit: Alyssa Cleland

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Crowdfunding improvements for safe, nutritious, and widely accessible food environments.

The money you donate goes DIRECTLY to retailers in markets who use it to make improvements that benefit both the people who work in markets and the people who shop there. Last year, the money donated was used to upgrade toilets and install water taps, for example. What's more is that the whole process of student engagement has enabled a much broader conversation between the municipality and retailers about how to support safe and accessible food! Please consider a small donation for this work!

Support Innovation in Malawi's Urban Food Markets

To learn more about small-scale retailers and their work, watch "Ruth's Legumes: Small-scale Urban Food Trade in Lilongwe."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New Book on Global Urban Agriculture

CABI just published an edited volume entitled "Global Urban Agriculture: Convergence of Theory and Practice between North and South" in which I have two chapters. One is a chapter co-authored with Michael W. Hamm entitled A View from the South: Bringing Critical Planning Theory to Urban Agriculture.  In this chapter, we discuss urban agriculture as an urban practice, rather than a rural practice misplaced, that might be regarded as one dimension of a diverse food system. We argue that studies of urban agriculture can be 'put to work' to,

  1. develop more accurate, locally-grounded understandings of how people provision their households,
  2. shed light on city processes that make people vulnerable to food insecurity,
  3. provide instructional case-studies that challenge conventional notions of what cities are and how they are put together.
The chapter encourages food and urban scholars to take a more systemic approach to understanding urban agriculture, which goes beyond judging it solely in relation to the absolute quantities of food it produces.

The second is entitled Urban Agriculture as Adaptive Capacity: An Example from Senegal. This chapter was based on my dissertation research carried out in M'Bour, Senegal. I argue that different frames yield different understandings of various social phenomenon, and that resilience theory can help us to better qualify and situate urban agriculture in relation to city food systems and household food provisioning strategies. I did a webinar for this chapter about a year ago.

The book's overall argument is that better theorizing of the practice of UA has implications not only for enabling more sustainable food systems, but also for urban social and economic justice.