Geographies of Food and Agriculture at AAG 2021!

The 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers Is this week, April 7-11. The Geographies of Food and Agriculture are sponsoring a wide range of sessions this year, and you can find the details and access the sessions through the conference program platform. Make sure to make room in your schedule for the GFASG business meeting on Saturday, April 10, from 6:15-7:30pm PDT!

Please be sure to make room in your schedule for this year’s Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group plenary, Examining systems of power in agriculture and food geographies, which is co-sponsored by the Black Geographies Specialty Group and the Latinx Geographies Specialty Group. The session is scheduled for Thursday, April 8, from 1:30-2:45pm PDT. For details see below.

FJSAAS Blog: Jan 2021

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.

Member Spotlight 



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!

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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.

2021 GFASG Graduate Research Grant Competition – UPDATE

The AAG Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group (GFASG) invites proposals for the 2021 Graduate Research Grant Competition. The Master’s and Doctoral competitions are designed to support graduate students’ conducting initial research for their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. 

The master’s level competition is intended to support research-related expenses and travel in support of thesis research during the 2021 field season. Proposals should clearly demonstrate scholarly merit and the ability to be successfully completed during the time-frame of the master’s research.

The doctoral competition is intended to support pilot research, or provide startup funds to help launch dissertation research. This award is not intended to supplement dissertation research that is already underway or near completion. Proposals should clearly demonstrate a scholarly contribution to geographic research on food and agriculture, an ability to successfully complete the proposed work, and a readiness to begin research in 2021.

The awards are competitive; applications are judged on the basis of scholarly merit of the project, organization and clarity of the proposal, qualifications of the student to conduct the proposed work, and their experiences and engagement with diversity. The Awards Committee is committed to equity in this process and especially encourages submissions from students of underrepresented groups including women, people of color, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S+ persons. As part of the application process, we therefore ask students to submit a diversity statement reflecting on their personal experiences with diversity and/or how their proposed research may engage with broader questions of diversity and equity as they pertain to food systems.

Each applicant must be a student member of the GFASG at the time of application, and the proposed project should be part of her/his thesis or dissertation research. Again, please note that applicants should not yet have completed research, as this is a seed grant. The amount of the research grant prize will be determined by membership and funds available to the GFASG at time of award. Past awards have been in the range of $400 – $600. Awards may not be given if no proposals are deemed suitable.

Entries undergo review by the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group’s Executive Committee. A complete application must be sent by email attachment (as a single PDF file with applicant’s name and graduate level [master’s or Ph.D.] in the title of the document). The submission and questions should be directed to Kristen Lowitt (kristen.lowitt@queenusu.ca). Application Deadline: February 15, 2021.

The application form is available here. The application consists of the application form and a one-page synopsis of the curriculum vitae. Submissions should be original, interdisciplinary, well-written and well-researched, and it should be obvious that the applicant is prepared to begin research AND has not already received full funding for the work.

The competition results will be announced at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers during the GFASG Business Meeting. 

Kristen Lowitt (Queen’s University)
Megan Baumann (Penn State University)
Russell Hedberg (Shippensburg University)

GFASG Statement of Solidarity with Black Colleagues and Activists

The Board of Directors of the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers expresses its support for, and solidarity with Black geography colleagues, organizers, activists, and protesters fighting against police violence, systemic racial oppression, and white supremacy in the US and around the world. We are inspired by and support the solidarity statements made by the Indigenous Peoples’ Specialty Group, the Queer and Trans Geographies Specialty Group, and additional AAG specialty groups. We call upon AAG leadership and other specialty groups to show continued solidarity with the Black Geographies Specialty Group, Black geographers, and Black activists building more just Black futures.

The Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group was founded as an intellectual home, networking space, and venue for sharing ideas and resources on geographical perspectives of food systems. It is committed to diversity and inclusion and many members actively work toward building more equitable, just, and sustainable food systems. The GFASG Board has committed to more proactively supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice within the specialty group and has a subcommittee working on strategies to this end.

Racial injustice permeates all aspects of life, including food systems. Ongoing systemic oppression – rooted in the legacy of colonization and slavery – disproportionately impacts Black people and Black communities. The extensive impact of the global pandemic, economic recession, and police brutality on Black people and Black communities brings to light the historic and systemic racism that underlies health, economic, and political inequities. These inequities are (re)produced in food systems through racist and colonial property regimes, capitalist processes, and systems of food apartheid that: deny communities of color access to fresh and healthful foods; disconnect people from each other and the land; and obstruct food sovereignty. Within this context, Black farmers, activists, and scholars, in geography and beyond, have long innovated and built agriculture and food practices that light paths toward resilience and liberation.

We call on other specialty groups and our members to study and educate, to research and deeply listen, to recognize and support the advancement of Black geography scholars, and to engage in the struggle for racial equity, justice, and freedom.

In Solidarity,

The Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group Board

2020 GFASG Newsletter

Click the link below to read the latest newsletter, which includes information of virtual sessions that will be running on April 6 and 7, and Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group (GFASG) business meeting that will take place on April 7!

GFASG Newsletter April 2020

The 2020 AAG conference may have been cancelled, but that isn’t stopping our members from holding several fascinating and inspiring virtual conference sessions on April 6th and 7th. Inside the newsletter, you will find all of the information you need to participate in these sessions. Also inside, you will find short articles by Erica Zurawski (UC Santa Cruz) and James Hale (Colorado State) relating to Colorado agri-food systems, member achievements from the past six months, and much more.

Newsletter Editor
Madeleine Fairbairn, University of California, Santa Cruz