Creating Alternative Food Futures: Food Sovereignty in Ireland and Beyond


13 April 2017. Maynooth University
Alistair Fraser has been working with various groups (Afri, Food Sovereignty Ireland, etc.) to develop this exciting event. All welcome but please confirm attendance at

Creating Alternative Food Futures: Food Sovereignty in Ireland and Beyond

10am to 3.30pm
April 13, 2017


April 17 is International Day of Peasant Struggle – a day to recognize and acknowledge the difficulties faced by diverse food producers in a world in which one-tenth of humanity experiences hunger. There is no better time of the year to discuss and debate how we can create alternative food futures in Ireland and beyond. Whether by adopting food sovereignty or some other framework, at issue is ¬finding ways for urban and rural dwellers, peasants, landless people, small-scale farmers, and coastal communities to work on mechanisms that can nourish and empower food producers and consumers like never before. The task is to identify and raise the profile of projects and practices that might build a sustainable, democratic, and just food system. During this one-day event held at Maynooth University on April 13 (we’re closed April 17), we invite attendees to contribute and share their experiences about creating alternative food futures.

Creating Alternative Food Futures will explore three themes:

Theme 1: ‘Resist’
10 to 11.30am
Location: Callan Building Room CB2, North Campus of Maynooth University.

Keynote speaker:
Dr. Chiara Tornaghi
Research Fellow in Urban Food Sovereignty and Resilience Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience, Coventry University, UK

Food sovereignty in the food dis-abling city? The urban-rural rift and the need for an urban political agroecology

With the increased strength of calls for food sovereignty and justice, activists, scholar and practitioners have been progressively interested in the urban cultivation of food. Is urban agriculture a new arena for struggles and empowerment? Voice and opinions are quite diverging: enthusiastic and apologetic approaches have been pointing out the power of digging the soil and building new solidarities and forms of citizenship. Critical voices, however, have pointed out at the degree of self-exploitation, green gentrification, and the way these practices are embedded in neoliberalism. In this presentation, building on empirical research and practical experience as a grower and a scholar-activist, I will avoid this dualism. I will first of all try to make sense of the ‘urban’ and social structures that constrain and shape urban agriculture, while exploring the multiple obstacles that prevent the urban cultivation of food from becoming a tool for food sovereignty. I will then reflect on pathways for empowerment that speak to both the urban and the rural food movements, and will aim to bridge contemporary urban and agrarian questions.

Discussant(s): Patricia Healy Kettle (and others still TBC)


Theme 2: ‘Transform’
12 to 1.15pm
Location: Callan Hall, South Campus of Maynooth University.

Hosted by Davie Philip, Cultivate / Cloughjordan Eco Village

Short presentations, including overviews of their work from:
Fergal Anderson, Food Sovereignty Ireland
Rachel Dempsey, Lourdes Youth & Community Centre
Andrew Douglas, Urban Farm
Louise Fitzgerald, Young Friends of the Earth
Thais Montovani, Latin American Solidarity Centre
Joe Murray, Afri
Michael O’Brien, Trocaire
Ciarán McCollum, Dublin Food Co-op

Theme 3: ‘Build’
2 to 3.30pm
Location: Callan Hall, South Campus of Maynooth University.

Short documentary, followed by discussion on creating alternative food futures in Ireland via initiating a national land trust.


Creating Alternative Food Futures is supported by: The Department of Geography, Maynooth University; The Department of Sociology, Maynooth University; The Maynooth University Conference and Workshop Fund; Afri; Food Sovereignty Ireland.

Please confirm attendance by emailing:

One comment

  1. […] noted here, with Joe Murray (Afri), Fergal Anderson (Food Sovereignty Ireland), Seamus Bradley (Derrybeg CSA), […]


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