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Dr. Colin Sage invited to Global Sustainability and Local Foods conference in Rome

22 Oct 2015
American University of Rome

Colin Sage has been spending the month of October in Italy. First he travelled to Rome where he had been invited to provide a final summary and discussion at the conference on Global Sustainability and Local Foods.

This brought many delegates from North America as well as from across Europe.  He then delivered a public lecture at the American University of Rome entitled, ‘Democratise Food! Social movements, governmentality and the rise of food policy councils’.  While at AUR Colin also delivered two lectures to the new masters’ programme in Food Studies, which has adopted his book, Environment and Food, as one of its core texts. From Rome Colin then travelled to Turin where he attended the VIIth AESOP (Association of European Schools of Planning) Sustainable Food Planning conference.

Colin is now a Project ITALY® Action 2 Visiting Research Professor at CORES-lab, an interdisciplinary research group focussing upon consumption, networks and practices of sustainable economies, located within the Lelio Pagani Centre for Territorial Studies, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Bergamo.  Although he is in Bergamo for less than 3 weeks Colin has been scheduled to make several presentations. Last Monday he gave a public lecture within the University, How Should we feed the world? to around 70 students and faculty from the Departments of HSS and Management, Economics and Quantitative Methods. On Tuesday 20th October Colin gave a lively and interactive talk to 65 16-17 year old students at the Oscar Romero Technical School, Albino (about 20 kms from Bergamo). Entitled ‘A conversation on food in the year of the Expo’ this talk was part of the Exploring sustainability in the food sector, an Erasmus+ project, in collaboration with high schools from Viersen, Germany; Instanbul, Turkey; and Espoo, Finland. Colin is hoping to take forward some further collaboration with this project.

On Friday Colin is the keynote speaker at a major conference that has been organised around his research fellowship, Food, sustainability and territory: From alternative food networks to new forms of governance. The Conference, to be opened by the Rector of the University and by the Mayor of Bergamo, is designed to bring together both academics and leaders of food social movements that are so active in Northern Italy. Colin’s speech, ‘From alternative food networks to sustainable food systems: Reflections on achievements, limits and possibilitieswill then be responded to by two eminent academics: Prof Cristina Grasseni (University of Utrecht) and Prof Gianluca Brunori (University of Pisa). The Conference continues on Saturday where the mayor, Giorgio Gori, is to host a roundtable to explore the prospects for developing regional food planning.  (This is a link to a shorter interview with Colin Sage at the end of the day at the conference).

Early the following morning Colin travels to Monza to provide a keynote lecture for a conference being organised as part of the EU-funded project, Hungry for Rights: Global Learning from Local Solutions in Alternative Food Systems. The organisers have asked Colin to draw on his experience with the Cork Food Policy Council to talk on the topic, Building public policies for food councils’ activation. Colin will then travel on to Piedmont to wrap up some research on the solidarity food-purchasing groups (Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale, GAS).

Finally, while busy delivering lectures and undertaking research Colin (together with co-editors Ed Byrne and Ger Mullally) was also able to complete and despatch the manuscript of ‘Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Transitions to Sustainability’ to the publishers, Ashgate, last week and this should appear sometime in 2016.

Department of Geography


University College Cork, Cork