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Brexit and south-west Regional voting

As the results of the EU Referendum became clear in the early hours of 24th June 2016, a fault line in British society was laid bare and the actions taken by the governing Conservative Party moved to cement those in the following months.  Quickly the political parties and the commentariat of the media looked for simple, explanatory narratives of the […]

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The Future of Cities is Urban Agriculture.

For many years, the future of cities has been a sort of noir, an ever-increasing array of buildings, concrete and glass that serves to emphasise that the urban is not the countryside.   If we turn to the ur-text of so much of contemporary urbanism, ‘Bladerunner’ the ‘Director’s Cut’ ends with the protagonist escaping the neon-confusion and squalor of the city […]

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Post-rural England and ubiquitous ICT

I increasingly view rural England, densely – but not uniformly – connected by 4G phones, high-speed broadband and a multitude of devices as having moved beyond the rural of 10 years ago, not the same as urban life but certainly past the rural as we often understand and see it represented – a post-rural situation.

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Tap for change: ubiquitous ICT, food and rurality

For the past few years I’ve become increasingly interested in the linkages between ICT, food and rurality. In 2017 I’m part of a team putting together a conference in July about those connections – see the focus below – so if you are interested in taking part get in touch. Matt ( Link to the conference Working Group Focus The […]

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Organic 3.0 (pt5) Don’t be cool…

So what went wrong with what we are now calling organic 2.0 ? It is not one factor but how a number combined allow and interacted, which slowly stopped the growth of organic 2.0.  The order I’m putting them here is not indicative of their imporance. 1 – it grew too slowly.  Often organic boosters would point to the very […]

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Organic 3.0 (part 4)

The next area that colleagues and I have been looking at which shows one future of food activism is social media and the role of the internet. For a few years now Dan Keech and I have been looking at the social media use amongst those active in the food networks of Bristol. [You can see presentations here and papers […]

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This Loopy Idea -UKIP, Climate Change and Renewables

This loopy idea that we can cover Britain in ugly disgusting ghastly windmills and that somehow our future energy needs will come from that. (Nigel Farage, Leader of UKIP, quoted in Ward 2013) My latest paper [here or earlier version here] started from a co-incidence. I was driving to work noting the landscape of energy that I pass on the […]

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Organic 3.0 – The future is participation (2)

My first example of this tendency towards participation in food is in the Orto Loco project in Zurich (see also this blog post).  This Farm is a community supported agriculture scheme (CSA) based on an organic farm.  Although a small farm it is very diverse with a broad range of enterprises – fruit, vegetables as well as animal production and just on the edge of Zurich.  The farmer felt that his future was limited without involving others and so formed a CSA around his farm. Most CSAs ask for a financial stake in the harvest.  Originally this was to pay for a share of the harvest, your stake being about enough to feed your family.  This approach removed the risk […]

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Terraces, soil and innovation

Early in the twentieth century, there was a series of books that investigated how previous forms of agriculture had sustained both the soil and the people dependent on them. From the Inca ruins in the Andes, the Hunza in the Himalayas or the variety of forms of intensive agriculture in China, it became apparent that other types of agriculture were […]

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Blended not stirred: spirulina vs kale

The title of the recent Guardian articles captures the tension quite well, and then the article misses the interesting points.  As Mauro’s blog post illustrates, there has been a careful and thoughtful case made for growing algae as a food source in cities.   But before turning to that let’s consider the value of kale. As many a foodie could tell […]

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Going Digital

  Recently I was reflecting on why a speaker was making a point that was clearly not supported by the new data, and I realised that it was because they weren’t party to the discussions that happen in the CCRI kitchen. There is always a lag between what is known in a research institute and what we are discussing publicly. This is not the product of anything sinister but the lag caused by report writing, the peer review process and sometimes clients thinking through findings before sharing them more widely. That gap can be a long time, a recent book chapter took 5 years between the time I wrote the copy and it being published. If you multiply that across […]

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The Internet is (not) a commons

I’ve been engaged in that periodic negotiation with the sheer complexity of the internet – choosing a smartphone plan.  Fortunately, I could make it marginally easier as I didn’t want to change the actual phone, just work out which of the galaxy of possible plans I wanted. It is at this point that the rhetoric of the internet boosters is […]