Welcome to the first edition of the Food Justice Scholar-Activist/Activist-Scholar Community of Practice (FJSAAS) quarterly blog!
Introducing the FJSAAS Blog
FJSAAS is a community of practice — that is, a group of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact* — situated within the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group (GFASG) of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). FJSAAS is open to all.
FJSAAS came together formally in 2017 and continues to engage in various activities and strategic planning initiatives connected to our goals, including monthly online meetings, research support for community-based groups, conference sessions and online dialogues.
This blog will be published quarterly on our webpage, beginning in January 2021. The central goals of the blog are to provide additional ways to engage with FJSAAS and to share FJSAAS news and discussions with audiences beyond meeting participants and our listserv. The content of this blog will focus on the intersection of three key areas: scholarship and activism; food systems and social justice; and geography, broadly construed. Each blog edition will contain at least three sections: an overview of the edition, updates on recent FJSAAS initiatives, and “member spotlight” focused on the work of an FJSAAS participant.
All are welcome to submit contributions to the blog for consideration, in line with these objectives. For more information about contributing to the blog, email us at: fjscholaractivists [at] gmail.com
* Wenger E (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Recent FJSAAS Work
Our community of practice has engaged in a number of initiatives in recent months. Some highlights from 2020 are:
- FJSAAS members Robin Lovell, Melody Lynch, Sahil Patni and Angelika Winner collaborated to produce a literature review on the global food production capacity of small-scale, regenerative agriculture for Soul Fire Farm, a BIPOC-centered community based farm in upstate New York.
- Members Kristin Reynolds, Danny Block, Colleen Hammelan, Brittany Jones, Jessica Gilbert and the late Hank Herrera published an article in the journal Human Geography about the evolution and radical food geography possibilities of FJSAAS. Several FJSAAS members published additional research articles in this special issue on Radical Food Geography Praxis.
- In late 2020, we developed an FJSAAS steering committee to work on strategic planning and coordination of the community of practice.
- Upcoming activities include planning for our annual session at the (virtual) American Association of Geographers’ meeting. In 2021, we are collaborating with People’s Knowledge at hosted by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University. Updates about this and additional FJSAAS initiatives will be included in our next blog edition in spring 2021.
Sahil Patni (Mumbai, India)
FJSAAS Steering Committee Member
Joined Aug 2019
I work in India’s agriculture sector to improve value chains and make them more accessible, equitable and sustainable for smallholder farmers. I came across FJSAAS while visiting the US in August 2019 and was intrigued by their focus on the ‘scholar’ and ‘activist’ dichotomy. I am primarily an activist/practitioner, spending time with farmer communities and field operations, but I do find immense value in social sciences research from my University days. Our monthly FJSAAS discussions have helped me stay attuned with a research mindset and more recently, has provided an engaging forum for discussions on systemic issues. The recent broadening of support for the Movement for Black Lives brought to fore several important perspectives within our monthly meetings, highlighting the significance of being more self-aware as a group. For me, these discussions also helped me think more deeply about parallels with the systemic inequities in the tribal and Indigenous communities we work with in India. I believe these discussions allow for reflection and dialogue on critical topics that help us become better professionals, and the group would be immensely helpful to both scholars and activists working towards food justice!
That concludes our first blog edition! Our next blog will be released in the spring of 2021. If you would like to contribute content to future posts, please email fjscholaractivists [at] gmail.com for more information.
Melody Lynch, Sahil Patni, and Kristin Reynolds, FJSAAS steering committee members and blog editors.