Food Justice in the City: Toward a Just and Sustainable Food System

Thursday 9 November 2017
6.00 - 7.30pm

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Lecture Theatre 1110, Abercrombie Business School
Cnr Codrington & Abercrombie Streets
University of Sydney
Camperdown, NSW 2006



Sydney Ideas

How can we build fairer urban food systems in the face of growing climate challenges?

In partnership with Sydney Ideas.

Never in human history has our interconnected global food system faced the diversity, intensity, and urgency of challenges that it faces today. Our global population has exploded, with an unprecedented number of these people living in cities. Our climate is changing, putting increased stress on the ecosystems that we rely upon to produce food. And, here in Australia, more and more people are going hungry, struggling with the everyday challenge of putting good food on the table.

Cities are increasingly at the front line of fighting these challenges. But what exactly can we do to create just and sustainable urban food systems? How can local governments, businesses, and urban residents come together to fight for and cultivate a fair food system that we can all be proud of? Join our panel of international experts to explore these questions, and to anticipate what Sydney’s food system could look like in the decades to come.

Devita Davison, FoodLab Detroit
Leslie Lindo, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
Julian Agyeman, Tufts University
Nick Rose, Sustain
David Schlosberg, Sydney Environment Institute (Chair)

About the speakers:

Devita Davison combines her passion for culinary arts with activism and entrepreneurship. She has spoken and facilitated workshops on food justice, entrepreneurship and the localist movement at the Kellogg Foundation Food & Community conference, Just Food Conference, Netroots Nation, Omega Institute and the BALLE conference.

As Co-Director of FoodLab Detroit, a non-profit organization that represents a diverse community of food businesses and allies working to make good food a sustainable reality for all Detroiters, Devita works to provide support to over 140+ food businesses through resource connection, mentoring, high-quality workshops, field-trips and networking opportunities — all with the goal of cultivating good food businesses. A native Detroiter, Devita moved back home after running a specialty food retail shop in Brooklyn, New York and now plays a leading role in Detroit’s emerging food scene.

Devita was previously the Community Kitchen Coordinator for Detroit Kitchen Connect, a network of shared, commercial kitchen spaces. She worked to grow the program from a visionary idea to a multiple facility operation that is bringing people together, building a more inclusive food economy and challenging the social, political and economic structures that reinforce inequities.

Leslie Lindo is the Director of Community Engagement at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), a network of thousands of US businesses and communities that aims to create local economies that work for all. At BALLE, she works to ensure that the community is deeply engaged and that replicable solutions and stories are harvested, curated, and spread widely to advance the localist movement. Leslie became the first Certified Sustainable Building Advisor in the state of Arizona and co-founded Ikoloji Sustainability Collaborative to advance a sustainable society through education and economic development.

Before joining BALLE she co-founded Project Rising, an incubator for infill and adaptive reuse projects, to curate place-based businesses that revitalize blighted spaces in urban centers.  Leslie has been dedicated to community engagement through service on boards for several nonprofit organizations, charrette facilitation for neighborhood associations and government agencies, and speaking engagements at industry conferences.  Her efforts have earned honors from groups such as the Rob and Melani Walton ASU Sustainability Solutions Initiative and the Phoenix Business Journal.

Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, USA. He is the originator of the concept of ‘just sustainabilities,‘ the full integration of social justice and sustainability, defined as: “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.” Julian’s research interests critically explore aspect(s) of the complex and embedded relations between humans and the environment, whether mediated by institutions or social movement organizations, and the effects of this on public policy and planning processes and outcomes, particularly in relation to notions of justice and equity.

Julian was co-founder in 1996, and is now Editor-in-Chief of Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. His publications, which number over 160, include books, peer reviewed articles, book chapters, published conference presentations, published reports, book reviews, newspaper articles, Op-Eds and articles in professional magazines and journals. Some of his key books are  Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (co-edited with Robert D Bullard and Bob Evans: MIT Press 2003), Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice (NYU Press 2005) and Cultivating Food Justice : Race, Class and Sustainability (co-edited with Alison Hope Alkon: MIT Press 2011). His most recent books are Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities (co-authored with Duncan McLaren: MIT Press 2015) and Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice: From Loncheras to Lobsta Love  (co-edited with Caitlin Matthews and Hannah Sobel: MIT Press 2017). He is currently researching a book on Immigration, Immigrants, Agriculture and Food in North America.

Dr Nick Rose is a specialist in the emerging field of sustainable food systems and the related fields of food sovereignty and food security. Nick was awarded his PhD in Political Ecology from RMIT University for investigating the transformative potential of the global food sovereignty movement. During and after his PhD, he co-founded and coordinated the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (2010-2015), where he was one of the developers of Australia’s first crowd-sourced food policy document, the People’s Food Plan, jointly coordinated Fair Food Week, and was the Content Director of Australia’s first food politics documentary, Fair Food. As a Churchill Fellow (2014), he investigated innovative models of urban agriculture in the US, Canada and Argentina. As Executive Director of Sustain: The Australian Food Network, he supports food system policy and programme work local government and beyond, with research studies into Food Hubs, local food economies and urban agriculture.

David Schlosberg is Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute. He is known internationally for his work in environmental politics, environmental movements, and political theory – in particular the intersection of the three with his work on environmental justice. He is the author, most recently, of Defining Environmental Justice (Oxford, 2007); co-author of Climate-Challenged Society (Oxford, 2013); and co-editor of both The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (Oxford 2011), and The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory (Oxford 2016).

Professor Schlosberg’s current research includes work on climate justice – in particular justice in climate adaptation strategies and policies, and the question of human obligations of justice to the nonhuman realm. He is also examining the sustainable practices of new environmental movement groups – in particular their attention to flows of power and goods in relation to food, energy, and sustainable fashion. And he continues with theoretical work at the interface of justice, democracy, and human/nonhuman relations in the Anthropocene.