Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 115 bus 2, 9820 Merelbeke
Promoting environmental justice: enhancing the resilience of local food systems through resourceful engagement of communities.
Local Food Systems (LFS) are seen as an appropriate way of taking climate into account while striving for more resilient and resourceful communities, in urban as well as periurban and rural areas. Issues such as participation in decision making and power relations are contextual and experienced unevenly across different groups in society. Therefore, the governance of resilient local food systems raises questions about democracy and fairness, about inclusion and exclusion, and hence, about procedural as well as distributive justice. This project will explore how attention to ‘environmental justice’ and ‘just sustainabilities’ can enhance the resilience of LFS, and can contribute to improved governance mechanisms.
The research will address questions such as:
‘Communities’ can be conceived of in multiple ways. It might be spatially located units (people belonging to a particular village, city or region), such as city council or farmers on a farmers’ market. Or it might be virtual, networked units with a shared interest (people belonging to the same network, professional, advocacy, stakeholders, …). Obviously, it might be a mixture of both.
Employing a transdisciplinary, participatory approach, the research will study, co-design and test traditional and innovative mechanisms of community-based decision making, involving an intentionally broad range of social groupings, in the context of local food systems in Belgium as well as in other European countries. Mechanisms of communitybased decision making will be developed, tested and evaluated, using existing/starting processes as test-cases.
This might involve methods of action-research. Possible cases include: