Sowing hope and struggles: Ecofeminism, Food and Social Justice Seminar Series

Sowing hope and struggles: Ecofeminism, Food and Social Justice Seminar Series

Ecofeminism emerges from common ecological and feminist struggles against capitalist patriarchy. It departs from the general premise that the domination, oppression and exploitation of women and nature are fundamentally interconnected under a violent and hierarchical system of power. Growing, processing and preparing food are activities that clearly bring together issues around gender, nature and neoliberal capitalism.

Smallholder farmers grow about 90% of the food grown in Africa and 50% of the world’s food. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that around 80% of those small farmers are women, many of whom go hungry and often lack the right to own the land they farm, with women farmers receiving only 5% of available credit. At the same time, female farmers are often referred to as “farmers’ wives” in most developed countries. And across the world women are still mostly in charge of “feeding the family”, while television programmes are full of male celebrity chefs.

Against this backdrop, initiatives like Via Campesina – ‘the international peasant movement’ – are increasingly highlighting the need to resist neoliberalism together with patriarchy, pointing to for example the manifold forms of violence against women farmers, unequal access to land and gender blindness in the agriculture sector. For Via Campesina, gender equality is requisite to achieving food sovereignty, advanced as an alternative to the dominant agro-industrial model that is exploiting people and nature.

In this spirit, the series of five Ecofeminism, Food and Social Justice seminars, “Sowing Hopes and Struggles” will consider issues around gender and food from ecofeminist and multi-disciplinary perspectives. The series is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Food Research Collaboration, IFSTAL, and the Gender and Sexualities Research Forum, based in the Department of Sociology at City University London.

Seminar 1: Speakers – Sheila Dillon, “The Food Programme”, BBC Radio 4 and Emeritus Professor Mary Mellor, University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne

Date: Wednesday 17 February 2016
Time: Seminar 16.00 – 18.00, Reception 18.00 – 19.00
Location: Room C309, Tait Building, City University London

Seminar 2: Speakers – Rosie Boycott and Deborah Johnston

Date: Wednesday 16 March 2016
Time: 16.00 – 18.00
Location: Room C314, Tait Building, City University London

Seminar 3: Speakers – Jane Dixon and Kate Metcalf

Date: Wednesday 4 May 2016
Time: 16.00 – 18.00
Location: Room ELG02, Drysdale Building, City University London

Seminar 4: Speakers – Mary Phillips and Alice Willatt

Date: Wednesday 18 May 2016
Time: 16.00 – 18.00
Location: Room AG21, College Building, City University London

Seminar 5: Speakers – Hilal Elver, Graciela Romero

Date: Monday 20 June 2016
Time: 16.00 – 18.00
Location: Room D104, Rhind Building, City University London

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Ecofeminism, Food and Social Justice Seminar Series: Sowing the seeds for a new era of research and activism?

A summary of the Ecofeminism seminar series and its lessons, written by Raquel Ajates Gonzalez and Rebecca Wells.
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