Tomato seeds growing

Seeding ideas: knowledge brokering and recombination for agricultural transformations

by Adrian Ely, Paddy Van Zwanenberg, Elise Wach, Martin Obaya and Almendra Cremaschi Straight after the ‘Transformations 2017’ conference, the ‘Pathways’ network gathered at the mid-point in our three year project to take stock. This included discussions in ‘pairs’ of hubs, including reflecting on our ‘theories of change’. In our case, the UK and Argentina…

Sign in rural landscape which reads 'Farmers for Trump'

Why agrarian studies should confront the rise of authoritarian, populist movements

Last week I was in Russia at the fascinating fifth BRICS Initiative in Critical Agrarian Studies conference. Throughout the event we heard about the emergence of particular styles of authoritarian populist regimes, including in the BRICS countries, but elsewhere too. Based on my remarks at the final plenary, I want to ask what the challenges are for…

group discussion

Coming to terms with messiness: What is a ‘Transformation Lab’?

In this blog post, Laura Pereira explains the idea of a ‘Transformation Lab’ (T-lab). T-labs are being used in our Pathways Network project in 6 countries to try to enable socio-ecological transformations. In the post, Laura uses an example of a completed T-lab from the GRAID research project in South Africa. For a short summary…

Food market in Madagascar

The global food system still benefits the rich at the expense of the poor

Ramen noodles in Sweden, wheat bread in Tanzania and Chilean wines in China. The cross-Atlantic transit of the potato and the tomato from the Andes to Europe, and back again as French fries and pasta sauce. We think of the world as globalised and sophisticated in its food tastes, and our palettes as curious and…

sad plate of food

Brexit and food: there is no plan, so what is the UK going to put on the table?

by Tim Lang, City, University of London; Erik P Millstone, University of Sussex, and Terry Marsden, Cardiff University Even the British eat. But one might be forgiven for thinking that the UK government does not know this for all the attention it has paid to the implications of Brexit for UK consumers and the nation’s…

tending vegetables

A day in the Chinampas

In the wetlands of Xochimilco in Mexico, farming is carried out in a system going back to Mesoamerican times, in chinampas – rectangular floating fields growing crops on a shallow lake. The area is changing rapidly with competing pressures from farming, urbanization and pollution, and we’ve been exploring how local people can respond to this…

Garden cultivation

How Kerala is making the transition towards healthy, home-grown food

In Kerala, agri-food systems are in transition towards self-reliance and sustainability. Through bringing traditional gardening into the mainstream food agenda, and adopting technologies and practices like agroecology, growers and consumers in Kerala are trying to overcome the impacts of external food dependency and related vulnerabilities. Debates on sustainable food systems are still largely trapped in…

Confronting authoritarian populism: a new initiative and a new paper

A few weeks back, I highlighted the launch of the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI), and the availability of small grants for doing research on both the contours of the current conjuncture, and how authoritarian populism emerges and is sustained in rural areas, as well as the forms of resistance and diversity of alternatives being…

A few weeks back, I highlighted the launch of the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI), and the availability of small grants for doing research on both the contours of the current conjuncture, and how authoritarian populism emerges and is sustained in rural areas, as well as the forms of resistance and diversity of alternatives being…

Training group in Lomerio

Research, convening and bridging: sharing insights from the ISSC’s Transformative Knowledge Networks

by Adrian Ely (co-lead, ‘Pathways’ Network), with contributions from Joanes Atela, Mirna Inturias, Dylan McGarry, Iokiñe Rodríguez & Patrick Van Zwanenberg Working with the World Social Science Council’s ‘Transformations to Sustainability’ programme brings the privilege of engaging with an incredible range of scholars and practitioners from across the globe. The programme’s three transformative knowledge networks…

Farmers' jury

Using a “farmers’ jury” to see Nicaragua’s food system from rural perspectives

Jorge Irán Vásquez Zeledón, a participant in the project on Transitions to Agroecological Food Systems based in Nicaragua, has written a blog post (in Spanish) about a “Farmers’ Jury” organised in connection to the project. The event aimed to investigate farmers’ views on the state of agroecological systems in Nicaragua, and what challenges need to…