By Wayne Roberts, Visiting Scholar, New College, U of T
This year, several United Nations identified agroecology as a strategy of food production that is central to dealing with hunger, human rights and environmental crises. This October, New College added to this discussion by hosting a mini-conference to celebrate World Food Day and ask if agroecology is pushing out agriculture as “the next new thing” in food and equity.
Not to be outdone, I decided to title my October 17 talk in the mini-conference’s final panel session “Cities, The Next New Thing in Agroecology?”.
This title might sound odd, especially in today’s world where half the population lives in cities and the assumption–or perhaps stereotype–is that food is grown in rural areas, so food isn’t very relevant to cities.
This assumption is part of what’s called the “productionist bias” in food policy and analysis, which focuses attention on production and crop yields rather than consumption and the overall social and cultural benefits that come from food.