Author Archives: anelyse

Organic vs. local? New article in Canadian Food Studies

Photo of purple cauliflower. By Suzie's Farm on Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo by Suzie’s Farm: https://flic.kr/p/e9ouDX

Who buys organic food, and who prioritizes local food?

We provide some insights on this question in a new article published by Canadian Food Studies. The article, authored by Shyon Baumann, Athena Engmann, Emily Huddart-Kennedy and me, is based on a survey of food shoppers in Toronto. Here are a few of our key findings:

  • The intention to buy organic food tends to be associated with parents who have children under the age of five. Health and taste concerns are top of mind in informing their purchases.
  • The intention to buy local food tends to be associated with educated, white women consumers. For these shoppers, collectivist concerns like the environment and supporting the local economy are a key motivator.
  • We argue that the predominant ‘individualist’ vs. ‘collectivist’ framing in the scholarly literature should be reformulated to accommodate an intermediate motivation.
    • Organic food consumption is often motivated by a desire to consume for others (e.g. children) in ways that aren’t straightforwardly individualist or collectivist, but that instead exemplify a caring motivation that falls somewhere between the two.

Book reviews for Food and Femininity

Cover of the book Food and Femininity by Kate Cairns and Josée Johnston.Professor Kate Cairns and I are always happy to hear when our recent book, Food and Femininity, has struck a chord with readers. Here is a compilation of the thoughtful reviews the book has received so far. We hope our contribution continues to push forward critical conversations about gender, feminism, food and inequality.

Conference season is underway

Photo of of a pile of lanyards.

Photo by Mack Male: https://flic.kr/p/p74G91

Academic conference season is underway! I’m looking forward to sharing my newest research at upcoming events, and several of the students I supervise will be speaking about their own exciting work. Here are some of the conferences where we will be presenting (or have recently presented):

Represent: Student Leadership Conference (29 – 30 April, Toronto)

  • Alexandra Rodney and Margaryta Ignatenko. “Disruptive Innovation Through Collaboration: Increasing Student Engagement” (28 April)

Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights and the Roles of Ethnoecology & Ethnobotany (2- – 5 May, Victoria)

  • Anelyse Weiler. Wrap-up/Commentary with Barbara Wilson (3 May). Mediator for “Plants and Indigenous Environmental Stewardship Protected Areas: New Models for Indigenous Governance” (4 May)

Canadian Association for Food Studies (28-30, Toronto)

  • Josée Johnston. Panelist for “Communities, Collaboration, Complexity: Diverse Perspectives and Experiences of Canadian Food Studies” (28 May)
  • Alexandra Rodney. “Teaching Food Insecurity: The Social Assistance Food Budget Challenge” (30 May)

Canadian Sociological Association (29 May – 1 June, Toronto)

Canadian Association of College and University Student Services Annual Conference (11-14 June, Ottawa)

  • Kelly, Heather, David Newman, Julia Smeed, Jacquie Beaulieu and Alexandra Rodney. “(Re)Designing the student experience: What happens when we stop surveying students and start talking to them?” (14 June)

American Sociological Association (11 – 16 August, Montréal)

Alexandra Rodney receiving SAGE Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award

Ali RodneyCongrats to Alexandra Rodney, who has been awarded a SAGE Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award! The award is from the American Sociological Association Section on Teaching and Learning. As part of the award, she is heading to Montreal in August to take part in a pre-conference workshop on teaching and learning.

Alongside her dissertation research on healthy living blogs, which I supervise, Alexandra has been committed to strengthening student learning experiences both inside the classroom and with UofT’s Innovation Hub. This month, she’ll be presenting a paper at the Canadian Association of Food Studies assembly in Toronto on an experiential learning activity she designed to help students learn about the lived experience of food insecurity. Specifically, students in her Canadian Foodways class had the option of living on a social assistance food budget for one week (similar to BC’s Welfare Food Challenge). The assignment served as a powerful way of helping students connect their individual experiences with the broader context of inequality and food politics.

 

Can consumers buy alternative foods at a big box supermarket?

Supermarket

Photo credit: plasticchef1 on Flickr Creative Commons

A commentary I published in the Journal of Marketing Management, “Can consumers buy alternative foods at a big box supermarket?”, is now available online (and free for the month of May). It’s part of a special issue that considers the question of “alternatives” in food and drink markets (Eds. J Smith Maguire, J Lang and D Watson). I use a case study of ethical meat to consider the diverse, often contradictory ideals that inform consumers’ search for alternatives to mainstream market options.

I propose three main takeaways. 1) The goal of producing  consumer alternatives is significantly hampered by the competing, and often contradictory demands of market forces. 2) The discourse of food alternatives uses a ‘win-win’ logic suggesting that consumers don’t have to sacrifice anything or change their habits. I believe that consumer projects for ecological and social change face a necessary but exceptionally challenging task of reshaping, and even downgrading consumer expectations. 3) Although I’m deeply sympathetic to the desire to “feel good” about shopping, the search for eco-social alternatives cannot simply make consumers feel good about their purchases. Food ‘alternatives’ have to go beyond feel good feelings, and address the material realities and limitations of niche markets.

Food and femininity in the Sociological Review

Food and Femininity Cover

Dr. Rebecca Sandover, an Associate Research Fellow in Geography at the University of Exeter, recently took the time to write a very thoughtful review of Food and Femininity. You can read the full piece in the Sociological Review, and here is an excerpt:

Through an immersion in the processes of decision making for household food choices, Food and Femininity offers a rich account of the thorny tensions faced by shoppers attempting to work out food ethics in their everyday eating lives. However, as Cairns and Johnston spotlight, these tensions are even more acute for women attempting to walk the tightrope of enacting feminist, post-feminist and healthy eating bodies within the framework of gendered food practices. . . . this book not only examines food and femininity, it also sets out feminist methodologies for researching food issues.

Call for papers on food and feminism

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Photo: Cross-stitch ninja. https://flic.kr/p/RuY2v

On the heels of International Women’s Day, I wanted to share a call for papers from Dr. Rachel O’Neill at the University of York, UK. She is organizing what looks like an exciting conference on June 30th, 2017: Food is a Feminist Issue: Media, Bodies Appetites. Attendance is free, but advance registration is required.

The call for papers (deadline 14 April, 2017)  references feminist writers such as Susie Orbach, who will give a keynote address, along with Tisha Dejmanee, Rosalind Gill, and Angela McRobbie. Kate Cairns and I are honoured that our book Food and Femininity is referenced in the call for papers.