Gardening Cyberspace Dan Keech

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Presentation by Dan Keech - to staff and students at University of East Anglia Environmental Science Department.

Part of the SUPURBFOOD project

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  • Supurb - City Regions
  • Anger and outrage largely absent – appear mostly in twitter if at all.
    Sustained debate/discussion absent – media used to reinforce or reflect positions developed ‘off-line’.
  • Gardening Cyberspace Dan Keech

    1. 1. Gardening cyberspaceGardening cyberspace hybrid spaces, multifunctional urban land use social media in the creation of food citizenship in the Bristol city region Matt Reed, Nigel Curry, Dan Keech, James Kirwan and Damian Maye Countryside & Community Research Institute dkeech@glos.ac.uk
    2. 2. OutlineOutline Part 1 - Brief overview of SUPURBfood (www.supurbfood.eu) Part 2 - On-line politics & urban social/environmental movements Part 3 – Multi-functionality and social innovation?
    3. 3. Backdrop to SUPURBBackdrop to SUPURB Contemporary urban life reflects global food surplus with distant ecological costs EU agri policy irrelevant to cities: • too diffuse and marginal for pillar 1 (AFNs) • no direct rural development contrib - pillar 2 (intensive, brownfield or vertical land use). Yet urban food systems have social, health, innovation and environmental potential and food market infrastructures
    4. 4. 1.3.0 SUPURBfood.eu Short food supply chains advocated in city-regions Key areas of interest • multi-functional land use • nutrient recyling • shortening food chains Focus on: • activists • governance • opportunities & blockages • accelerators Graffiti by Banksy –Park St, Bristol
    5. 5. DUBLIN UNITED KINGDOM LONDON PORTUGAL LISBON SPAIN MADRID FRANCE ROME ITALY BELGIUM NETH’LANDS DENMARK NORWAY OSLO SWEDEN STOCKHOLM FINLAND I ESTONIA T RIGA LATVIA LITHUANIA POLAND KIEV MOLDOVA ROMANIA SWITZERLAND ATHENS GREECE ALBANIA SERBIA The SUPURB City Regions Bristol Ghent Riga Rome Rotterdam Vigo Zurich
    6. 6. Diversity in EuropeDiversity in Europe • geographic: landscapes, climates - • governance styles and histories - • very local specific contexts • importance of (urban) agriculture - • shopping habits - • global flows – influential • different interpretation of EU regs in nation-states
    7. 7. Key pointsKey points The notion of a city-region links urban and peri-urban areas (and may cross council boundaries) Debates about food miles: the project works on the basis that you also need shorter nutrient/water flows and carbon cycles if you want to improve environmental performance of SFSCs. Funded through EC SME budgets, not agri- environment divisions. Objective to support SMEs. Investigation: what are the drivers, opportunities, barriers, accelerators for performance improvements?
    8. 8. End of part 1End of part 1 Part 2 follows. Will discuss the vibrancy of grassroots civic food networks in Bristol.
    9. 9. Bristol, April 2011Bristol, April 2011 Series of riots around a Tesco Express store in ‘The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft’ http://capturingbanksy.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/the-not-so-mild-mild-west/ Picture byAndy Webb in: Rice, L., Davies, J. and Cains, M (2011) Bristol Riots, Tangent Books, Bristol.
    10. 10. On-line media and activismOn-line media and activism Riot widely reported on social media - streamed live on Internet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6EAcK8elVM Three public order incidents and the eventual opening of the Tesco store provide unusually violent backdrop to environmental activism through food. More usually grassroots groups in the city try to create social change through community food project, motivated by environmental concerns and focused on city administration. (cf. Seyfang 2006!)
    11. 11. Changing urban spaceChanging urban space “In our society, the public space of the social movement is constructed as a hybrid space between the Internet social networks and the occupied urban space: connecting cyberspace and urban space in relentless interaction, constituting, technologically and culturally, instant communities of transformative practice.” (Castells 2012:11)
    12. 12. Urban & on-lineUrban & on-line Urban institutions - “building society across lines of difference” (Marwell & McQuarrie 2013:127) – observation field dynamics rather than normative structures Bennett (2012) - personalised politics (lifestyle, ‘decline of group loyalties’) and DNA (Digital Network Activism) Kang – consumption boycott of Wholefoods: “the network holds potential for transforming politics, as a space in which competing views probe each other, collectively generate critical reflections on the ethics of a corporation and of public policy, and so rejuvenate the community (Kang 2012:574). Capacity of on-line to shape and create a debate, to change the spaces of the city. www often localised.
    13. 13. Social food media - BristolSocial food media - Bristol CCRI team - content analysis of social media data as part of our contribution to SUPURBfood Objectives - to gauge how social media traffic shapes food spaces and practices in Bristol and Bath; what lessons for research and policy?
    14. 14. 4 YouTube Videos Mostly through Twitter links. 34 Cases Methods & Materials Individuals, businesses and organisations -websites and linked social media 8Twitter accounts Over 15,000 tweets 1 Facebook Group Materials collected Dec 2012 - April 2013 Analyzed using Nvivo 10
    15. 15. KeywordsKeywords Analysis using Nvivo 10 Word frequencies used as initial coding key Importance location, positive tone and the immediate Discourses after Dryzek
    16. 16. Ecosystems and resources, People, Cities Mutual enterprises Popular mobilization – volunteers, professionals and shoppers Environmental Citizenship Contingency of natural systems Agents & their motives Transition and collapse Power of positive choices Local action GREEN URBANISM Basic Entities Recognised Exploitation, Co-operation Assumptions about natural relationships Metaphors & rhetorical devices
    17. 17. CIVIC ENVIRONMENTALISM Basic Entities Recognized Ecosystems, Regulations and Resources Businesses, households and the State Assumptions about natural relationships Regulated competition Agents & their motives Consumers Corporations Enlightened self-interest Key metaphors & rhetorical devices Cycles – natural and of mutual benefit Service provision Technological/logistical solutions Efficiency
    18. 18. Personal agencyPersonal agency • ‘Great to see @GeorgeFergusonx supporting #goodfood at the fantastic @LoveFoodFest … & endorsing @TCF lovely vegboxes’ • ‘We can and do make Bristol a healthier and happier place in which to live’ @GeorgeFergusonx • Critique of corporations impersonal and reflective. • The two discourses – GU & CE – overlap: BFPC a bridge btwn the City Council and activists, with results in official attitudes towards retail and procurement.
    19. 19. Part 2 summaryPart 2 summary An alliance within the city - limited & negotiated Social media - maintaining and perpetuating alliance - not creating Combination of on-line and off-line Re-shaping of the space of city around food Inclusion and exclusion (Bristol-centric?) Limitations of the local state but growing expectation of change within the Bristol city-region.
    20. 20. Part 3Part 3 • SME collaboration • Limitations of EU food policy in supporting food SMEs and multi-functionality emerging from urban agriculture
    21. 21. The Community Farm (1)The Community Farm (1) • CBS financed by 500 investors £180k (£50 - £20k) • Dispersed community of democratic ownership • Whole farm owned by one of the directors; CF is tenant • Non-profit
    22. 22. The Community Farm (2)The Community Farm (2) • 22 acres of 250 acre holding, possibility to extend • Grants, free business advice and donations for dev’l post • Landholder receives agri- payments for org livestock • Multiple ‘social’ functions • Veg boxes • (classic SE juggle?)
    23. 23. CF as multi-functionalCF as multi-functional (urban) service?(urban) service? • Increasing access to local/org veg in city-region (FPC) • Providing formal environmental education for schools and linked to public procurement (seasonal probs) • Supporting social services via drug rehab training • Enhancing wildlife conservation • Grant-dependent for social functions • BUT unsubsided farm business
    24. 24. CCRI collaborationCCRI collaboration SUPURBfood provides a small investment to CF to collaborate as Bristol city-regional partner. •How can planning regs better accommodate the multi- functionality of the CF? – Dutch barn/yurt! •What governance structures and business models are more conducive to multi-functionality? •How essential is multi-functionality to sustainable development? •How can CF become an a registered agricultural holding when its Grade 1 land costs £20k an acre. •What potential for urban agriculture within reformed CAP?
    25. 25. Networks and functions: •Informal (organic and no discreet function) •Formal (can be changed in relation to functions) •May not be co-terminous
    26. 26. End of part 3End of part 3 •Multi-functionality is an important outcome of many urban food networks but there are complications •Food policies are designed for rural situations •Dependence on volunteers to reduce operational costs •Social functions are grant dependent - opening up /burdening project staff (CF) with new interfaces •Meanwhile social/environmental functions must be accommodated behind commercial necessity •
    27. 27. • SUPURBfood brings into focus the unhelpful division between urban and rural space, and social and economic functions in agri-policy. These divisions may stifle social innovation • Bristol reveals vibrant grass-roots activism creates new communities of interest and friendships with roads into city policy. • However, national and EU policy remain the main technical drivers of practice change (esp. for nutrients and planning) and further embed dominant food culture – Bristol supermarkets • Multi-functionality offers new potentials for community food analysis The very end…
    28. 28. How d’ya like them apples?How d’ya like them apples? Photo: Common Ground

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