As the Covid-19 crisis continues to unfold, some wish for a quick return to normality whereas others hope for a chance to build back better. While the crisis has exposed our vulnerability as human beings and the consequences of our unrelenting encroachment into nature, it has also seen prompted manifestations of solidarity worldwide, especially as a reaction to spiralling inequalities.
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In Brazil, home delivered food baskets and digital platforms connecting farmers to consumers via social media have received a boost and have extended beyond affluent neighbourhoods. There have been multiple campaigns to donate food grown by small-scale family farms and land reform settlements to food insecure households. These localised emergency responses have been activated by networks of civil society organisations, rural social movements, urban solidarity networks and engaged academics and practitioners, who have promptly come together to connect farmers to consumers and reach out to those in need.
Drawing on two ongoing research initiatives in Brazil, this seminar will document some of these recent experiences while reflecting on the following issues:
- How do these networks interact with (or challenge) established food chains?
- In addition to selling or donating food, what other transactions take place through these food networks and what other functions do these networks play?
- To what extent do they empower more ecological sustainable and socially just patterns of production, trade and consumption?
- What type of support is required to ensure that these networks are sustainable and ethical?
- To what extend are these networks helping to recast the value of food?
Claudia Job Schmitt is Assistant Professor of the Postgraduate Program in Social Sciences in Development, Agriculture and Society at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro.
Les Levidow is Senior Research Fellow at The Open University and co-editor of the journal Science as Culture.
Andre Degenszajn is the Executive Director of Instituto Ibirapitanga. He was the Secretary-General of GIFE, the Brazilian association of institutes, foundations and companies, from 2013 to 2017.
Chair: Lídia Cabral, IDS Research Fellow.
This webinar has been organised by IDS Food Equity Group and Sussex Brazil Group.