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IPM Research Seminar - Can Food Drive Place Change?

Food Market
Hosted by Dr Alessandro Graciotti

Can Food Drive Place Change? The Impact on Communities and the Environment

Food is a pivotal part of our everyday lives. Discourses and practices surrounding food create spaces imbued with meanings, values, and boundaries that are constantly contested and changing. Tactical and spontaneous methods of engaging with place transformation emerge alongside various ways of conceiving food systems. This reciprocal relationship between food and place influences placemaking and impacts communities, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

This IPM Research Seminar focuses on the role that food plays in transforming places for the better, while critically examining the challenges it may present and exploring how to transform these challenges into opportunities by affirming communities’ rights to their territory. From rural peripheries to urban centres, from place-based research to community groups in action, speakers will alternate in presenting their contributions to our current understanding of food and place. This will provide insights into:

  • Community-nature initiatives
  • Urban poverty and food access
  • Food procurement and local economic development
  • The hipster economy
  • Community market gardens

Webinar: Thursday 20th June 2024 | 3 - 5pm

Online - Register here 
In person - Register here 

Address - Manchester Metrpolititan University, Business School, Room 3.07, All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, M15 6BH


This IPM Research Seminar will assist those interested in place management and development in considering directions to pursue, drawing from local, national, and international best practices for social and environmental sustainability. Farmers, food entrepreneurs, producers, distributors, and retailers will receive valuable practical recommendations from a range of case studies. Additionally, researchers and students in marketing, management, and the broader social sciences – from cultural sociology and geography to planning and policymaking – will benefit from diverse approaches to exploring ‘foodways’. Lastly, anyone interested in the direct and indirect effects of their food consumption on place will find some tasty food for thought (and it's free!).


15:00 Introduction by Dr Alessandro Graciotti


15:10 Dr Kate Seymour 

TitleReimagining Space for Food in Urban Nature Recoveries (TBC)

Description: In this talk I will discuss the different and sometimes conflicting roles imagined for food and food production in a range of community-led urban nature recovery projects. Drawing on participant observation and interviews from a recent project in and around Rusholme, Manchester, the talk explores four local case studies: forest gardening, allotments, community food growing and guerrilla gardening. I conclude by considering how placemaking occurs through these urban community-led projects which sit at the intersection of community building, nature restoration and food production.

15:25 Prof Caroline Moraes 

TitleUrban poverty and the role of UK food aid organisations in enabling segregating and transitioning spaces of food access

Description: This research examines the role of food aid providers, including their spatial engagement, in seeking to alleviate urban food poverty. Current levels of urban poverty across the UK have resulted in an unprecedented demand for food aid. Yet, urban poverty responsibility increasingly shifts away from policymakers to the third sector. Building on Castilhos and Dolbec’s (2018) notion of segregating space and original qualitative research with food aid organisations, we show how social supermarkets emerge as offering a type of transitional space between the segregating spaces of foodbanks and the market spaces of mainstream food retailers. This research contributes to existing literature by establishing the concept of transitional space, an additional type of space that facilitates movement between types of spaces and particularly transitions from the segregating spaces of emergency food aid to more secure spaces of food access. In so doing, this research extends Castilhos and Dolbec’s (2018) typology of spaces, enabling a more nuanced depiction of the spatiality of urban food poverty (Link to the research paper: (Urban poverty and the role of the UK food paper).

15:40 Dr Adrian Morley

TitleEmpowering Communities through Public Food Provisioning

Description: My presentation will discuss the largely unrealised potential for public food provisioning (schools, hospitals, workplaces) to drive healthier, greener and more prosperous communities. Centred on the concept of a Municipal Foodscapes, I will draw on research on regional food procurement systems and reflect on the role of local governance structures and evolving national policy drivers.

15:55 BREAK

16:05 Dr Alessandro Gerosa

TitleThe impact of the Hipster Economy on urban transformations

Description (American English, please edit if you want it British): This presentation will explore the impact of the "hipster economy" on processes of urban transformation. The hipster economy made up of small businesses that prioritize authenticity and marginal forms of distinction, has become a prominent feature in medium and large-sized cities in the Global North and beyond. The presentation will focus on how independent entrepreneurs behind this economy have become active urban actors, driven by a desire to build social connections and communities that resemble the genuine social relationships found in pre-industrial towns and villages. Furthermore, the presentation will analyze the positive and negative consequences of this entrepreneurial activism, brought on as part of wider urban coalitions. On the one hand, there is an opportunity to revitalize the high street. On the other hand, there are indirect negative consequences that favour the marginalization and expulsion of the most vulnerable groups living in the same areas (Link to the open access PDF version of the book: The Hipster Economy – UCL Press).

16:20 Sam Payne 

TitlePlatt Fields Market Garden and the local food system

Description: Platt Fields Market Garden (PFMG) is a community garden based on Platt Fields Park, Fallowfield. PFMG began as a fallow patch of grass with no facilities and with the work of local people is now a unique and thriving community market garden and is home to 10+ community groups & businesses. A beautiful oasis in a busy urban city. It is a place where local people develop a wide range of horticulture skills, connect with others, increase their physical activity, share food, learn about sustainable food growing and get involved in developing ideas and projects. How has this guerrilla garden come about and what is its effect on the local area? What are the benefits and how can this fit into the wider food system?



Online - Register here 
In person - Register here 

Address - Manchester Metrpolititan University, Business School, Room 3.07, All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, M15 6BH

14:45 - Refreshments avalible in person 

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