Posted:June 6, 2014
These 2 articles of interest appear in the inaugural issue of the open-access, peer-reviewed Canadian Food Studies Journal, available at http://canadianfoodstudies.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cfs/issue/view/5
(1) Building Effective Relationships for Community-Engaged Scholarship in Canadian Food Studies
By: Peter Andrée, Dayna Chapman, Louisa Hawkins, Cathleen Kneen, Wanda Martin, Christina Muehlberger, Connie Nelson, Katherine Pigott, Wajma Qaderi-Attayi, Steffanie Scott, Mirella Stroink
How can community-engaged scholars best undertake grounded, policy-relevant, food systems research and teaching in ways that support the capacity of—and meaningfully build on—the experiences of civil society organizations working on these issues in Canada? This paper analyzes four case studies in the context of a research project that brings together members of the Canadian Association for Food Studies and Food Secure Canada. One case was led by Region of Waterloo Public Health and faculty from the University of Waterloo; a second by the Food Security Research Network at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and the North Superior Workforce Planning Board; a third by the national student organization Meal Exchange and Ryerson University in Toronto; and a fourth by the BC Food Systems Network. We argue that the answer to the question above lies in establishing respectful relationships and recognizing the different cultures involved, and we offer five methodological insights f
or building effective relationships in practice. The first is the need to disaggregate the concept of ‘community’ in order to acknowledge the distinct needs and assets of the diverse organizations and populations involved. Our second and third insights are linked: Establish the relationship around a shared vision, and then negotiate mutually-beneficial teaching or research projects. Fourth, practitioners should approach community-campus engagement through the framework of contextual fluidity, which includes seeing the relationships and the vision at the heart of the work, while remaining open to shifts and new opportunities. Finally, adopting community capacity building practices helps practitioners realize their shared vision.
(2) Reflections of a food studies researcher: Connecting the community-university-policy divide….becoming the hyphens!
By: Lesley Frank
This narrative presents refections on the role of the food studies researcher from the perspective of a new academic with a background in community and policy work. It details a multi-phased, mixed methods case study on the public policy relations of infant food insecurity in Canada and provides a discussion of some unintentional outcomes of doing food studies research. The author suggests that an integrative approach, one where the researcher bridges the micro-effects of public policy with policy making realms, is ideally suited to food studies and food policy analysis. The narrative reveals how a researcher can become the hyphens in the community—university—policy divide through the process of storytelling.