Archived Events

November 24, 2022

mountainside landscape of dark brush with large green tree and white cattle in the foreground

Water Security and Public Policies to Reduce Poverty: The Case of the “One Million Cisterns Program” in Brazil

Presented by Karla Oliveira

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), by 2025 two-thirds of the world population could live under stress conditions of water availability. 1.8 billion people are expected to be living in areas with absolute water scarcity, that is, less than 500m3 per year per capita. Agriculture is one of the most impacted sectors, which could also influence food insecurity for small farmers and traditional populations. These circumstances affect livelihoods among countries, with an in-depth consequence due to global climate change.

Many solutions for lacking access to water for consumption and agricultural production have been placed by local communities throughout many countries. One of the most successful stems from the Semiarid region of Brazil, considered the most populated semiarid area of the world. The ‘Cistern Program’, also called the ‘One Million Cisterns Program’, has its origins in the 1970s when an intense drought killed around 1 million children in that region, causing rural exodus and unmeasured social consequences. At that time, social movements started to debate solutions to minimize water insecurity among people in the Semiarid region. The Semiarid Network social movement (ASA, in Portuguese), which is composed of 3,000 organizations, proposed to install 1 million social technologies (cisterns) to guarantee water security and food production for families in vulnerable situations. However, behind this indicator, what happened was a revolution in the way people view and live in that region, summarized as “conviviality with the Semiarid” and by empowering women and children.

Karla Oliveira is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary. She holds an MSc in Environmental and Rural Development from the University of Brasilia. From 2013 to 2017 she worked as a technical analyst for the “Cistern Program”, a public policy with the aim of guaranteeing water security to more than 1 million families in extreme poverty in Brazil. 

October 28, 2022

green Ralph Lauren food truck with cafe chair and pumpkins in front of it

Lara Rößig

Fashion Foodnotes - Research at the Intersection of Food and Fashion

Presented by Lara Rößig

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

In societies where Kate Moss’ mantra of “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” still seems to prevail, a relation of food and fashion is often dismissed. Yet both fields exhibit strong similarities. Both are listed as basic human rights in Article 25 of the United Nation’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and are what Marcel Mauss calls total social facts. With that he refers to phenomena that have implications for all members of societies, as well as religious, political and economic importance. Thus they impact nearly all societies while simultaneously constituting two of the world biggest industries as well as serving similar social functions, as transmitters of values, beliefs, traditions, and aesthetics of individuals and societies. The multifaceted phenomena linking food and fashion and how they present themselves in diverse contexts form the core of Lara's project. What do these phenomena tell us about key cultural processes such as identity construction, gender performance and (environmental) awareness? Through the joint research of the two fields and utilizing their capacity to employ them to similar research objectives, this work seeks to contribute an innovative new perspective to the study of social realities and cultural practices.

Suggested Readings

Lau, S. (2022, May 10). How the fashion industry is using food as art. Elle Magazine.

Roessig, L. (2020, November 1). Lady Gaga's meat dress - wearing food as fashion. Food, Fatness, and Fitness. Critical Perspectives.

Lara Rößig is a PhD Candidate at the America Institute at LMU Munich. She graduated with an MA in North American History, Culture and Society in 2018. Based on her research interests in popular culture, sustainability and social dynamics she is currently writing on the connection of food and fashion, supported by a Mitacs Globalink Research Award and a full-time doctoral scholarship from the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation.

Septembers 23, 2022

two baskets of fruit and vegetables set on top of fall grass

Welcome Meeting

Convened by Chelsea Rozanski

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

The Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group welcomed members old and new to attend our fall welcome and planning meeting! The Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group of the Calgary Institute for the Humanities aims to build and foster a network of food studies scholars from the UCalgary community and beyond. Working across disciplines, we promote critical scholarship from the broad area of food studies, engaging with faculty and students from the many departments of UCalgary, as well as with food studies scholars, activists and community leaders outside the university. Through our speaker and lecture series, we hope to continue to expand the food studies network and develop interdisciplinary collaborations for research projects concerning the many facets of, and approaches to, food. We hold monthly group meetings covering a range of topics, aligned with the expertise and interests of participants, to gain better insights into the kind of food-related research currently conducted by members of the UCalgary community. Our events draw participants from within and outside the university and just in the last year have dealt with topics such as the adoption of climate-mitigative farming practices by climate-skeptic farmers, building community-driven food networks within a capitalist economy and how agrarian extractivism in Latin America is impacted by food demand from China. Together, our activities will further build and consolidate an interdisciplinary group of food scholars at UCalgary as well as increase the visibility of ongoing research efforts in the wider academic and non-academic community.

Chelsea Rozanski is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology and convenor of the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group. 

August 20, 2022

Brown cow in green field with other cows on overcast day

Southern Alberta Rural Farm Tour

Presented by Sarah Riedner of Happiness by the Acre

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Members of the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group toured Happiness by the Acre. Tour participants had the opportunity to collect the days eggs; meet chickens, ducks and cows; and tour the market garden on premises all while discussing the practices and experience of first generation farmers.

Sarah and Marcus Riedner of Happiness by the Acre are first generation farmers working on 153 acres near Carstairs. When they purchased the farm, it was being used for grain crops, with no roads, utilities or even fencing. Since then, they have added perimeter and cross-fencing, a dugout, road, utilities, barn, market garden, small passive-solar greenhouse, farm building, and farm store. They now keep a flock of laying hens and ducks year-round, meat hens and Kunekune pigs in the summer, and do custom grazing for a local cattle rancher. Their farm work draws on regenerative agriculture practices, with the focus of improving the land by promoting soil health, regrowth and rebuilding an ecosystem. In a short time, they have seen the land go from heavy tilled, hard-packed soil with very little organic matter to vibrant mixed species in their pastures, with croaking toads and salamanders! https://www.happinessbytheacre.ca/  

June 11, 2022

Urban farm field on sunny day with multiple rows of vegetable plants running horizontally

Calgary Urban Farm Tour

Presented by Heather Ramshaw of Highfield Regenerative Farm and Michael Gavin of Root & Regenerate Urban Farms

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Members of the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group toured two urban farms in Calgary, Alberta. Participants learned about the a variety of ways food is being cultivated in urban spaces and how the city setting shapes the capacity for food production.

Highfield Regenerative Farm is a project of the Compost Council of Canada and the City of Calgary. Through land revitalization, regenerative food and community building, Highfield Farm is transitioning an underutilized brownfield site into an active urban community farm hub. The farm is located on a 15-acre piece of underutilized space in the industrial area of the City of Calgary. Although previously used as a site for the Blackfoot Farmers' Market, it had spent nearly a decade lying vacant. It is now seeing new life in a community of groups, businesses and individuals who contribute to the development of the gardens, park spaces, composting efforts, education and more. https://www.highfieldfarm.ca/ 

Root and Regenerate is one of the longest running urban farms in Calgary. This 100% organic “farm” is spread out among 9 different plots, mainly in Central Northeast and Southeast Calgary, from around Renfrew to Ogden. They focus on a style of regenerative farming called no-dig, a method that is about disrupting the soil as little as possible to promote soil health and microbial life. Their main plot, located next to the Centre for Spiritual Living, is where 95% of the produce for Root and Regenerate’s summer CSA program is grown. https://www.rootandregeneratefarm.ca/

April 29, 2022

Four brown chickens pictured from above on green grass

Municipal Involvement in Urban Food Production in the City of Calgary

Presented by Jennifer Lawlor and Kristi Peters and moderated by Erin Shoults

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Please join us to hear from two women who are actively involved in developing urban food systems within the City of Calgary. Jennifer Lawlor will speak about her experience in amending the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw to include a pilot program for Urban Hens. We will hear about the process, research and engagement involved in bringing forward this proposed amendment. We will also hear more about what is involved in launching the Urban Hens pilot program and how it will work. Kristi Peters will share some of her experiences working in urban food systems, including how the idea of growing food in the city has evolved over the years. She will speak about some of the challenges and successes the City has encountered in facilitating this growing demand and how she sees urban food production developing in the future based on current trends.

Suggested Resources: 

The City of Calgary Newsroom (2021, June 2). Responsible pet ownership bylaw update passed by Calgary City Council.

City of Calgary (n.d.) Calgary Food Action Plan: Food system assessment and action plan. 

Jennifer Lawlor is a Business Strategist with Calgary Community Standards. Jen led the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw review which resulted in changes to modernize the bylaw, including a new Urban Hen program. She has also been the project lead in operationalizing the Backyard Hen Pilot Program and other changes to the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw. 

Kristi Peters is a Sustainability Consultant and Food Systems Planner working with the City of Calgary. Kristi has been a key player in operationalizing Calgary’s Food Action Plan which builds on community-led efforts to create a healthy, equitable and sustainable food system.

March 18, 2022

Headshot of Sven Anders

Just Don't Call it Climate Change: Climate-Skeptic Farmer Adoption of Climate-Mitigative Practices

Presented by Sven Anders

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Despite low levels of agreement that climate change is caused primarily by humans, respondents to a survey of climate change beliefs and adoption of climate-mitigative practices among beef and grain producers in Alberta, Canada, indicate a high level of adoption of several agricultural practices with climate-mitigative benefits. Respondents' motivations for adoption of climate-mitigative practices rarely include the belief that climate change is caused by humans, but rather expectations for economic benefits, improvements in soil quality, and biodiversity, among other things. The strongest predictor of mitigative practice adoption is a learning orientation, defined as valuing improvement, research, learning, and innovation, followed by a conservation orientation that values land stewardship. Predictors are not consistent across practices; however, in some but not all cases adoption is predicted by climate change norms, or assumption of personal responsibility to address climate change, and other predictors vary by practice as well.

Suggested Readings

Davidson, D. J., Rollins, C., Lefsrud, L., Anders, S. & Hamann, A. (2019). Just don’t call it climate change: climate-skeptic farmer adoption of climate-mitigative practices. Environmental Research Letters,14(3), 034015.

Maybery, D., Crase, L. & Gullifer, C. (2005). Categorising farming values as economic, conservation and lifestyle. Journal of Economic Psychology, 26 (1), 59-72.

Sven Anders is Professor of Agricultural Economics and Food Marketing in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta. His research interest lies in the economics of food markets and supply chains. Using econometric and experimental economic methods Sven’s research seeks to provide insights into both producer and consumer behaviour with a focus on advancing food policy and welfare outcomes. Through his research on the impacts of food regulations on developing countries, he takes a keen interest in the interdependence of agricultural production, food security under changing climatic and agri-environmental conditions.

January 28, 2022

Close up of garden bed with green cabbage and peas growing in it.

Conversations with a Mapuche Elder in Canada: Possibilities and Challenges for a Community-Driven Food Network within a Capitalist World Economy

Presented by Sara Rodriguez Huenchullan and Chelsea Rozanski (formerly Klinke)

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Fill up a mug of hot cocoa and join us for a discussion on corporate control, resistance dynamics, and grassroots organization. Two members of a grower-activist circle in Greater Forest Lawn, Moh’kinstsis (Calgary), will share their experiences engaging in a food network driven by community needs, strengths, and decision-making. By enacting daily modes of opposition framed by an ideology of ‘the commons’, this coalition is striving to close the gap between who can participate in processes of growing, gathering, and eating 'healthy, happy food'. Sara and Chelsea will encourage participants to think critically about the ecological, socio-economic, political, cultural, and gendered implications of a capitalist economic model for growers and consumers. How are cycles of debt and dependency reproduced for small-scale farmers and food-insecure populations? Grounded in the belief that locally-grown food should not only be accessible to society’s privileged sector, we will discuss the possibilities and challenges of radical change for more relational foodways.

Suggested Readings

Klinke, C., & Samar, G. K. (2021). Food pedagogy for transformative social change. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 8(3), 45-58. 

Cadieux, K. V. & Slocum, R. (2015). What does it mean to do food justice? Journal of Political Ecology, 22(1), 1-26.

Sara Rodriguez Huenchullan is a Mapuche Elder from Chile with 83 years of experiences. She has dedicated her life to organizing community, growing collective power, and raising awareness about exploitative colonial systems.

Chelsea Rozanski (formerly Klinke) is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at UCalgary. Originating from Delaware, Chelsea is a newcomer to Treaty 7 who is passionate about regenerative growing practices, food justice, and intercultural relationship building. 

November 26, 2021

Four long raised garden beds planted with leafy green vegetables in a greenhouse

A Reflective Practitioner Approach to Food System Planning in Calgary, Alberta

Presented by John Bailey

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Cities and municipalities across Canada are implementing food system assessments and action plans to better understand and address issues related to urban food systems. In 2012, the City of Calgary released “Calgary EATS!: A Food System Assessment and Action Plan”, a comprehensive report and action plan that marked the culmination of city-wide stakeholder engagement and collaborative planning led by the municipality in partnership with the community. The goal of this plan was to support the growth of a sustainable and resilient food system in Calgary, and to inform future action and policy. However, challenges related to implementation have cast doubt on the plan’s long-term effectiveness. The purpose of my recent thesis work was to identify the primary challenges affecting the implementation of the Calgary Eats! Action Plan and identify potential opportunities to move the plan forward. This research was conducted collaboratively with members of the local urban food partnership involved in the development of the original Action Plan. A reflective practitioner approach and a critical planning approach were used in working with representative members of the CE Action Plan partnership.

Suggested Readings:

Bailey, J. (2021). A reflective practitioner approach to food system planning in Calgary, Alberta. Master's Thesis.

Cabannes, Y. & Marocchino, C. (2018). Food and urban planning: The missing link. In Y. Cabannes & C. Marocchino (Eds.), Integrating food into urban planning (pp. 18-59). UCL Press.

John Bailey is currently a Research Associate at the Simpson Centre for Food and Agricultural Policy, and a recent Master of Environmental Design graduate from the School of Architecture, Landscape, and Planning at the University of Calgary.

November 24, 2021

Three raised garden beds made of wood filled with green vegetables

Conversations with a Mapuche Elder in Canada: Creating Experiences to Regenerate the Land and Relational Fabric of Society

Presented by Sara Rodriguez Huenchullan and Chelsea Rozanski (formerly Klinke)

Hosted by the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Event Details

Warm up a cup of tea and join us for an interactive conversation on collective power, empathy, and solidarity. Situated in Moh’kinstsis (colonially known as Calgary), two members of a community-based participatory research team will share their experiences engaging with regenerative agriculture as a tool for wider social transformation. Reviving an ideology of ‘the commons’, their grassroots movement works to enhance local food resilience, strengthen scalable agrarian alliances, and foster more socially inclusive spaces that are decolonial in nature. Combining hands-on growing with sharing circles, cultural activities, and farm exchanges, we will discuss the opportunities and challenges of an ‘agrarianism-from-below’.

Sara Rodriguez Huenchullan is a Mapuche Elder from Chile with 83 years of experiences. She has dedicated her life to organizing community, growing collective power, and raising awareness about exploitative colonial systems.

Chelsea Rozanski (formerly Klinke) is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at UCalgary. Originating from Delaware, Chelsea is a newcomer to Treaty 7 who is passionate about regenerative growing practices, food justice, and intercultural relationship building.

November 3, 2021

Person wearing yellow jacket holding garden potatoes

Urban Farming and Black Land Sovereignty

Presented by Mecca Bey and Nyabweza "Bweza" Itaagi and chaired by Joyce Percel

Hosted by the Voice and Marginality at the Nexus of Racism and Colonialism Research Working Group 

In racially segregated American cities, Black community organizers and urban farmers are reimagining local urban economies for their communities. Sistas in the Village, a black women owned urban farm in Chicago, IL, is one of several in a seven-acre collective of farms managed through an urban agriculture organization called Urban Growers Collective. Leading through principals of welcoming, care, and collectivity, the owners of Sistas in the Village grew their farm into a space that heals – both through food and a care that addresses the ancestral trauma that many Black women feel as decedents of enslaved Africans.

We have invited the owners of Sistas in the Village, Bweza Itaagi and Mecca Bey, to discuss the development of their farm, the community that supports them, the local economy they have developed, and the role Black growing plays in Black land and food sovereignty. Please join us for an afternoon of discussion and reflection on alternative urban spaces.

Mecca Bey is a healing circle keeper, community outreach leader, urban farmer and co-creator of a farming business, and a speaker about health and wellness as it relates to farming and community.

Nyabweza "Bweza" Itaagi is an urban farmer, food justice advocate and horticulturist. She is passionate about bringing together Black and Brown communities to build solidarity​ and resilience.

October 29, 2021

Two hands scooping yellow soy beans from pile

Comparative Study of the Influence of Chinese Food Demand upon Latin American Patterns of Agrarian Extractivism in Argentina and Brazil

Presented by Rita Giacalone

Hosted by Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Since China’s entry to the WTO (2001) its demand of agrarian goods as food for humans and fodder for cattle has influenced the trade patterns of Latin American nations, such as Argentina and Brazil. The literature has assessed this phenomenon employing the concept of agrarian extractivism (McKay, 2017; Veltmeyer, 2013), which includes features like intensive mono production, increased importance of primary goods in exports, little or no links between the exporting chain and the national economy, high concentration of economic benefits and power outside the producing nation, and even a development model based on the excessive exploitation of natural resources. The study compares Argentinian and Brazilian agri-food systems before and after the impact of Chinese demand in the first decade of the XXI century. This presentation is part of a research project in progress financed by the China-Mexico Studies Centre (CECHIMEX), Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM).

Suggested Readings:

McKay, B. (2017) Agrarian extractivism in Bolivia. World Development, 97, 199-211.

Giacalone, R. (2020) Neoextractivismo agrario y sus efectos en el complejo bananero/platanero venezolano (segunda década del siglo XXI), Agroalimentaria 26(50) (2020).

Rita Giacalone holds a Ph.D. in History (Indiana University), was former professor of Economic History at the Economics Department (Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela) and visiting fellow of the Latin American Research Centre (University of Calgary), and is presently visiting professor at the Institute of Latin American Regional Integration, Universidad de La Plata, Argentina.

October 14, 2021

Film Poster: Anita Chitaya stands arms crossed on dirt ground, images of chimney smokes, DC, and combines in the background.

Film Discussion with Raj Patel: The Ants and the Grasshopper

Presented by Raj Patel

Hosted by Global Development Studies: Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Event Details

Raj Patel will join us on October 14th at 12:30pm to discuss his latest film, “The Ants & the Grasshopper” for an interactive session.

About the film:

Anita Chitaya has a gift; she can help bring abundant food from dead soil, she can make men fight for gender equality, and she can end child hunger in her village.  Now, to save her home from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge: persuading Americans that climate change is real. Traveling from Malawi to California to the White House, she meets climate sceptics and despairing farmers. Her journey takes her across all the divisions shaping the US, from the rural-urban divide, to schisms of race, class and gender, to the thinking that allows Americans to believe they live on a different planet from everyone else. It will take all her skill and experience to help Americans recognize, and free themselves from, a logic that is already destroying the Earth.

More Info: Raj Patel     More Info: Film

September 24, 2021

Array of fresh fruit including rhubarb, berries, and grapefruit

Welcome Meeting

Convened by Marit Rosol

Hosted by Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group 2021-2022

Join the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group! We will be meeting on Friday, Sept. 24 to discuss plans for the coming year. New members are welcome, including students!

The Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group is a CIH Working Group which aims to build and foster a network of food studies scholars both at the University of Calgary and beyond. Working across disciplines, we promote critical scholarship from the broad area of food studies, engaging with faculty and students across various departments within the University, as well as engaging with food studies scholars, activists and community leaders outside the university. Through our speaker and lecture series, we hope to continue to expand the food studies network and develop interdisciplinary research collaborations for research projects concerning the many facets of, and approaches to, food. Our monthly group meetings will continue to cover a range of topics aligned with expertise and interests of participants, to gain better insights into the kind of food-related research currently conducted by members of the UofC community. Our events will investigate, for example, the theoretical and empirical relation of sustainability and social justice within current food systems. Together, our activities will further build and consolidate an interdisciplinary group of food scholars at the UofC as well as increase visibility of ongoing research efforts in the wider academic and non-academic community.

Dr. Marit Rosol, Canada Research Chair and Professor of Geography, Department of Geography: marit.rosol@ucalgary.ca

Dr. Craig Gerlach, Professor and Academic Lead, Sustainability Studies, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape: scgerlac@ucalgary.ca

May 19, 2021

Person harvesting potatoes

One Health Circle

One Health through sustainable food systems - Sustainable food systems through One Health

Presented by Marit Rosol and Kristi Peters

The COVID crisis has demonstrated how human health, the well-being of animals, and planetary health must not be viewed in isolation – and that they depend to a large extent on the ways in which we produce, process, trade and consume food. Learn about the need and opportunities for change, how a One Health re-think of our current agri-food systems can support the necessary ecological and social transformation of our agri-food systems, and how the City of Calgary is working to improve food system resilience – towards healthier humans, animals, and the planet.

Dr. Marit Rosol (CRC & Associate Professor, UCalgary Dept. of Geography)

Kristi Peters (Sustainability Consultant & Food Systems Planner, City of Calgary

April 29, 2021

Pastel de elote (Corn Cake)

Recipes Near & Far: Pastel de elote (Corn cake)

Presented by Pamela Narvaez

Hosted by the Graduate Anthropology and Archaeology Student Association

Supported by the Graduate Student Associatio

Event Details

Mexico is the centre of domestication of maize; thus, it is not surprising that this crop is the base of Mexican gastronomy. In this Recipes Near and Far event, I will share with you a dish that is not only close to my heart, but also a great representative of Mexican cuisine. Pastel de elote is characterized by its sweet corn flavour. It’s commonly enjoyed as part of a celebration or simply as part of dinner. I hope it’s not surprising that this recipe does not contain any spicy ingredients! 

March 28, 2021

Karjalanpiirakka (Karelian pie)

Recipes Near & Far: Karjalanpiirakka (Karelian pie)

Presented by Kelsey Pennanen

Hosted by the Graduate Anthropology and Archaeology Student Association

Supported by the Graduate Student Association & the Calgary Finlandia Cultural Association

Event Details #1 and Event Details #2

Karjalanpiirakka (or Karelian Pie) is a traditional food from the Karelian region of eastern Finland near Russia. A part of Finnish cuisine, as a third-generation settler to Canada of Finnish cultural heritage, my grandparents and I grew up eating these and have enjoyed this food for generations. Pirrakka is a savoury snack consisting of a rye crust wrapping with a rice filling. My favourite is a rice pudding mixture and topped with melted butter mixture and egg salad. Join and learn more about Finnish culture, including the unique language, sauna, and fun facts about Finland while enjoying food together. Together with the Calgary Finlandia Cultural Association, we celebrate food as a way to connect with and maintain tradition, family, and community.

January 28, 2021

Irish Stew and Wheaten Bread

Recipes Near & Far: Irish Stew and Wheaten Bread

Presented by Zoe Cascadden

Hosted by the Graduate Anthropology and Archaeology Student Association

Event Details

These dishes are the epitome of traditional Irish fare, so they seemed the most appropriate to make. Lamb stew and wheaten bread (also called soda bread in Southern Ireland) have been made in Ireland for hundreds of years, reportedly since potatoes and bicarbonate soda made it to Ireland! I am also very excited to share these recipes because they take me back to sitting at the table with my Grandfather, eating dinner while he told me stories of his childhood in Northern Ireland.

January 15, 2021

Event Poster

Food Studies Symposium

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group of the Calgary Institute for the Humanities

Event Details

Throughout human history, food has played a critical role in our cultural, economic, and social dynamics.  This symposium will bring together the voices of scholars, activists, and community members to examine how food has been, is, and can be a tool for cultivating social change. 

This symposium is free and open to the public. We invite community members, undergrad and graduate students, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows from all fields to join us!

Keynote address: Dr. Priscilla Settee

Opening Ceremony: Elder Evelyn Goodstriker

Opening Remarks: Dr. Noreen Humble, CIH

Panelists: Kolby Peterson, Audra Stevenson, Shantel Tallow

We would like to thank our many presenters and contributors, the Graduate Students' Association, the UCalgary Office of Indigenous Engagement, and the Calgary Institute for the Humanities for their support.

December 16, 2020

Ghanaian Flag

Recipes Near and Far: "3to" with Korkor, A taste of Ghana

Presented by Korkor

Hosted by the Graduate Anthropology and Archaeology Student Association

Event Details

Although very simple, this meal holds a lot of significance amongst the Akans and GaDangme in Ghana. “3to” is a local Ghanaian food made from either yam, plantain or cocoyam boiled and mashed and mixed with palm oil. It is usually garnished with avocados, groundnuts, and eggs. “3to” is eaten during puberty rites ceremonies, twins-festivals, outdooring/ naming ceremonies (8th day after birth), birthday celebrations and the most significant of all is during marriage ceremonies because the egg is believed to guarantee the fertility of the woman. We are of the view that, when the bride eats an egg on her wedding day, it prepares her womb to conceive thus bearing more children. In the olden days it behooved the bride to swallow the egg whole as it was believed that if she bit the egg into two, she was killing her unborn children. 

As a proud Akan (Fante + Wassa), I bring to you “3to” with Korkor: a taste of Ghana. 

December 4, 2020

Tatenda Mambo

Simon Farm Project: Regenerative Agriculture, Integrated Food Production, and Community Engagement

Presented by Tatenda Mambo

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

The Simon Farm Project—located just outside Blackie, AB, and in its second year of a five year partnership—was started to investigate alternative approaches to conventional agriculture that primarily have a focus on sustainability, efficient use of energy, and producing nutrient dense food to serve community needs. The primary focus of activities on the farm are guided by concepts of regenerative agriculture and agroecology, where the goal is to integrate various forms of production while simultaneously enhancing biological processes and ecosystem services that underpin and drive these activities. The integrated agricultural system includes activities such as horticulture (vegetables and fruits), no till grain production, orchard and forest production, small livestock production, mushroom production, aquaponics and hydroponic production, insect farming, green energy systems, and water harvesting systems. These projects will inform existing research on integrated food, water and energy systems, designed to improve food security and foster resilience. 

November 24, 2020

Sourdough Bread Ingredients

Recipes Near and Far: Shasta's Simple Sourdough & Quick-Pickled Onions

Presented by Shasta E. Webb

Hosted by Graduate Anthropology and Archaeology Student Association

Event Details

Have you ever smelled the alluring aroma of a hot, fresh loaf of sourdough? Have you ever heard the song of sourdough—the crinkle of the crust cooling after being pulled from a hot oven? Have you ever seen photos of glorious, plump loaves, and wanted to try a big bite? Have you ever paused to ask what sourdough actually is, or wanted to make it yourself? In the broadest sense, a sourdough bread is any bread made using naturally occurring yeast and bacteria, as opposed to commercial “active” yeast or other rising agents. Sourdough has a long history and global reach. For an evening, we will discuss the origins of sourdough and other fermented foods, talk about sourdough through the ages, and learn the basics of making it. Since the process requires long fermentation times, the live event will go over the steps in condensed time, but will leave you with the skills you need to produce beautiful bread with an interesting evolutionary and cultural history. All you need is salt, water, flour, microorganisms, and patience!  

November 20, 2020

Controlled Environment Agriculture and Containerized Food Production Systems

Controlled Environment Agriculture and Containerized Food Production Systems, for a diversified and sustainable food system?

Presented by Alex Wilkinson

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

There is an ongoing debate about the role of controlled environment agriculture and containerized food production systems in local food production, food security, and food sovereignty in northern communities. Some critics dismiss these applications as ineffective, and marginalizing certain populations. However, these critiques are premature and undermine what may prove to be a important and complementary component of local and regional food systems in northern communities, offering enhanced food production capabilities for communities and year round production.

October 29, 2020

Recipes Near and Far Poster

Recipes Near and Far: Caldo Verde

Presented by Cassidy Da Silva

Hosted by Graduate Anthropology and Archaeology Student Association

Event Details and Panelist Details

UCalgary graduate students will teach and cook dishes from their home countries, heritages, or field sites. A list of ingredients will be provided beforehand so that attendees can follow along if they so choose. While whipping up tasty treats, the cooks will provide cultural, historical, and sociopolitical contexts of the dishes they make.

Participants will be provided ingredients lists and recipes beforehand and are encouraged to cook from their own homes! Prior to cooking, we will have a panel discussion on "How can we intentionally engage with food across cultures?"

October 22, 2020

Bringing together voices from the grassroots, anecdotes from farming, and her experiential graduate research, Chelsea Rozanski guides us on a YYC Food Tour like no other!

Global to Local AG: A YYC Food Tour

Presented by Chelsea Rozanski (formerly Klinke)

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Event Details

As you gather in gratitude this time of year, take a moment and think about the foods you're consuming. Where do the ingredients come from and how did they arrive on your plate? Who grew them and what kind of agricultural model did they employ? This talk will shed light on the dynamics of urban ag in Calgary, including who is doing what and who continues to face food insecurity. 

Rozanski is an Anthropology graduate student at the University of Calgary, Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Ben McKay. Rozanski's participatory research addresses issues in food security, access, and sovereignty in local and global contexts. Through digital storytelling and regenerative community gardens, Rozanski and her counterparts highlight the role agroecological models play in sustainable agrarian and urban development.

February 27, 2020

Feeding the Future - Haroon Akram

Feeding the Future: Understanding the Contemporary Food Crisis

Presented by Haroon Akram-Lodhi

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Events Details

Around the world hunger continues to be a pervasive issue. This talk summarizes current evidence regarding global hunger and demonstrates that its principal cause is not to be found in the amount of food produced around the world but rather is a consequence of the terms and conditions by which the world food system operates. Challenging key aspects of the food system, it is argued that hunger can only be addressed by a rootand-branch transformation of the world food system.

Haroon Akram-Lodhi is Professor of Economics and International Development Studies at Trent University, Peterborough, Canada. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Development Studies, an Associate Editor of Feminist Economics, a Fellow of Food First, the Institute for Food and Development Policy, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Women’s Rights Programme of the Open Society Foundations in New York City. Haroon Akram-Lodhi undertakes extensive advisory services for various UN agencies in Asia and Africa.

January 30, 2020

The Revolutionary Potential of Food Sovereignty - Annette Desmarais

The Revolutionary Potential of Food Sovereignty

Presented by Annette Aurélie Desmarais

Hosted by the Food Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group

Event Details

Climate change, a growing health crisis, the persistence of hunger, and a rise of exclusionary politics all clearly demonstrate the need for and the potential of food sovereignty. Since La Vía Campesina introduced the peasant idea of food sovereignty back in 1996, the idea has gained a lot of traction as a radical alternative to globalized food systems. But, what exactly is food sovereignty? What is it that makes it such a powerful idea? How do communities actually engage in food sovereignty. This presentation will answer these questions by looking at three cases of food sovereignty in action: the global struggle for peasant existence and power, women’s struggles for equity/equality in La Vía Campesina, and how Basque farmers are holding back right-wing populism.

Annette Aurélie Desmarais, PhD is the Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Social Justice and Food Sovereignty at the University of Manitoba. She is the author of La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants (2007), editor of Frontline Farmers (2019) and coeditor of three volumes on food sovereignty. Prior to obtaining her doctorate in Geography she was a small-scale farmer in Saskatchewan.