Food Justice Scholar-Activist/Activist-Scholar (FJSAAS) Community of Practice
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Read our special journal issue in ACME:
Building on themed conference sessions and field trips that we have organized at AAG meetings over the past several years, we published a special issue on food justice scholar-activism in the open-access journal ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies in 2018 (volume 14, number 4). Articles are free for anyone to download here.
About the group:
Food justice scholarship and activism have evolved alongside each other, and at times have been intertwined, over the past decade. At times there are clear distinctions between “scholarly” and “activist” activities in this realm. However, often, individuals, groups, and their actions take on characteristics of both. Recognizing and building upon these dynamics is important in strengthening the effectiveness of food justice work. These topics are of direct and historical relevance to the field of geography, both theoretically and practically.
Since 2014, a small-but-growing group of individuals interested in the intersections between food justice scholarship and activism have met at the annual American Association of Geographers meetings to begin to create a community of practice.
The AAG sessions have been sponsored each year by the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group, and, in some years, by additional AAG specialty groups.
As a community of practice, we are focused on:
- the meaning and scalability of “food justice” (in urban and rural spaces), as both a paradigm and material goal;
- productive questioning of the dichotomy between activist and scholar;
- recognition of experience-based food systems expertise in a variety of settings (e.g., community; academia; policy making);
- the potential roles of academics/academic work in advancing food justice.
Our name, “Food Justice Scholar-Activists/Activist-Scholars Community of Practice,” reflects our commitment to breaking down dichotomies that we feel reinforce power imbalances with respect to activist and expert.
Our intent is to support collaboration among a broad diversity of actors in the food system, through the lens of geography and other fields, and help to strengthen the integrity of both food justice scholarship and activism.
Our specific goals are:
- Sharing learning based on experiences connecting food justice activism and scholarship;
- Creating pathways for on-the-ground activists and scholar-activists to collaborate to improve conditions in the food system;
- Critically examining and questioning the role of academics in defining reality through writing and other scholarly activities;
- Building upon existing theoretical work on the intersections between theory and practice, including in feminist, (post)marxist, critical race, indigenous, environmental justice, and social movement scholarship, as well as geography, as we move forward with evolving food justice work.
Remote: We hold regular video/conference calls through which we continue to build our work together. The meetings are open to all, including community-based activists, independent scholars, academics, and professional geographers.
In Person: We also meet at AAG meetings each year. In April 2019, we co-hosted the Radical Food Geographies, full day pre-AAG conference that in Washington, D.C. See the Events page for further details. In 2020, we will meet at the AAG conference in Denver, Colorado. Please check back for more details.
We may also meet at other conferences throughout the year that are related to our goals.
Kristin Reynolds, Independent Scholar, New York, NY; Lecturer, The New School.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about FJSAAS or how to join our listserv or next meeting.
(Last updated: October 18, 2019)