After our five sessions on food system transitions at the AAG 2017, and our sessions on “Mapping urban food production” and “The other food system(s)” at the AAG 2018, visiting and presenting at the AAG has now become a bit of a tradition for FEAST. So, in 2019 another team of FEAST and friends went to Washington DC to meet, listen to and present to thousands of researchers from all around the world – this year without any organized sessions.
Mai Kobayashi joined a session on Cultural Landscapes, where her presentation “Meat in a post-development world: insights from Bhutan” discussed the changing landscape of food choices and access in Bhutan, in particular the ways religious teachings affect how people relate to the production and consumption of meat. Christoph Rupprecht joined a session on social infrastructures and the public life of cities to present research from his JSPS-grant sponsored project “Understanding threats to young children’s green space access in unlicensed daycare centers”. His presentation showed that caregivers play a vital role in facilitating young children’s access to green space, but face difficulties such as trouble with other park users and insufficient green space provision. Daniel Niles (RIHN Associate Professor/FEAST member)’ presentation “Patterns in place: the aesthetic dimensions of agroecological sustainability” examined how different forms of environmental knowledge affect how culture persists over long time frame, and what we might learn from this for the challenges of the Anthropocene.
At FEAST we treasure our many friends and colleagues, and it’s always a pleasure to participate in conferences together. This year, Sachi Matsuoka (Kyoto University) and Minseo Kim (Chiba University) joined us in Washington DC. Sachi Matsuoka discussed common space at a religious institution in Kerala, Southern India, and the role of interpersonal relationships for social welfare. Minseo Kim presented some results from her recently concluded doctoral research (co-supervised by Christoph Rupprecht) on how residents’ familiarity with green space affects how they perceived informal green spaces in Ichikawa City, Chiba Pref. Thanks to both of them for joining us! Apart from our presentations, the AAG has also become a place to meet new colleagues and old friends. It was a pleasure to see Stephanie Pincetl again, whose stay at RIHN as an invited scholar allowed us to build a lasting friendship. We were also excited to meet up and forge plans with Christine Barnes, who will be joining us as a RIHN Visiting Research Fellow in July. Christoph also met Rebecca Ellis, University of Western Ontario, who is one of our international colleagues working on beekeeping.
Finally, we used the opportunity to visit Washington DC to explore some of the fantastic museums. From the National Museum of the American Indian to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, there was much to learn and discover all around food and sustainability. From conference presentations to museum exhibitions, it is good to remember there are many ways to learn about and communicate research!