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    Conversations towards sustainable and resilient foodways

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    Conversations towards sustainable and resilient foodways

    UQ Anthropology Museum in partnership with Food System Horizons (UQ and CSIRO)
    Thursday 12 October 2023 

    Food sovereignty has been defined as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems” (Via Campesina 2021).

    In the lead up to World Food Day, join us for an engaging panel discussion featuring interdisciplinary experts whose work is shaping the dialogue towards just and sustainable food systems.

    Against the backdrop of the Anthropocene: Linking past and present to shape a better future exhibition prompting reflection on these matters, we will hear from Dr. Kiah Smith, Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa, Dr. Kora Uhlman, and Assoc. Professor Alison Crowther on a range of topics ranging from the social dimensions of food system transformation and sustainability, nutrition security and native Australian crops, food systems and health in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the historical transformation of foodways and ecosystems through agricultural trade and exchange.

    Panel discussion with Q&A 11am – 12.30, followed by light refreshments.

    Presenter profiles:

    Yasmina Sultanbawa, Professorial Research Fellow and Director, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), University of Queensland

    Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa's research is focused within the agribusiness development framework, specifically in the area of food processing, preservation, food safety and nutrition. Her current research includes the minimisation of post harvest losses through value addition and the search for natural preservatives to replace current synthetic chemicals. In addition, her research area also includes the challenge of nutrition security, in particular micronutrient deficiency (hidden hunger), lack of diet diversity and nutritional losses in the food supply chain, which are addressed by her work with underutilized Australian plant species and potential new crops. Her work on Australian native plant foods is focused on incorporation of these plants in mainstream agriculture and diet diversification Working with indigenous communities to develop nutritious and sustainable value added products from native plants for use in the food, feed, cosmetic and health care industries is a key strategy. The creation of employment, economic and social benefits to these remote communities is an anticipated outcome. She considers it a privilege to engage with these communities and is very passionate that her work will have a positive socio-economic impact.

    Kiah Smith, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, School of Social Science, University of Queensland

    Dr. Kiah Smith is a sociologist with a passion for the social dimensions of food system transformation and sustainability. She applies critical social science theories and qualitative methods to investigate the connections between environmental change (such as climate change and food insecurity) and the agency of diverse social actors to redefine pathways to more sustainable, resilient and fair food systems. She has published on food justice, climate resilience, financialisation, governance, gender empowerment, green economy, ethical trade and the Sustainable Development Goals. Kiah currently leads an ARC DECRA study - Fair Food, Civil Society and the Sustainable Development Goals - that examines how civic stakeholders are able to resist, reshape or redefine what a just and sustainable food system might look like, based on co-design and collaboration with civil society, local government, advocacy groups and grassroots food actors (food hubs, community gardens, and food charities) in Australia. This interdisciplinary research agenda can best be summarised as one where ‘food futures’ are closely connected with ‘deep’ sustainability, rights, justice and empowerment, within the growing field of ‘sustainability transitions’. Kiah is also a Future Earth fellow, a member of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) research network for a New Eco-Social Contract, Treasurer/Secretary of the International Sociological Association’s Food and Agriculture research group (RC40), and Treasurer of the Australasian Agrifood Research Network (AFRN). Her work at the nexus of academia and policy/advocacy contributes to the growing movement for the right to food in Australia and globally.

    Alison Crowther, Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow School of Social Science, University of Queensland

    Alison’s research interests include the archaeobotany of early agriculture in Africa and the Indo-Pacific, trans-regional maritime trade and crop transfers, and ancient food processing technologies, which she investigates combining micro- and macrobotanical approaches as well as experimental and taphonomic studies. Her current research is investigating the origins and development of Indian Ocean trade and interaction with a focus on coastal East Africa, where she has conducted extensive fieldwork since 2010 with the Sealinks Project. Of specific interest is how ancient trade and migration, which linked Africa, Asia and Europe in one of the world’s first phases of pre-modern ‘globalisation’, led to the dispersal of a number of plants, animals and foodstuffs in the Indian Ocean over the last two–three millennia. Alison’s research aims to identify the crops and other exotic foods that spread through these networks, and to understand how these agricultural exchanges transformed local foodways and ecosystems through time. She is working with an international cross-disciplinary team whose material science and biomolecular studies of other archaeological remains (fauna, human remains, ceramics, beads, lithics, etc.) are providing unique and complementary insights into the economic and social connections and transformations that occurred during this dynamic period of Indian Ocean proto-globalisation.

    Kora Uhlmann, Health and Wellbeing Queensland

    Dr Kora Uhlmann has a background in environmental science, education and food production. Combining her passions, she completed a PhD at The University of Queensland on adolescent food environments, nature relatedness, health attitudes and behaviours. She has since worked on transdisciplinary projects aimed at creating healthier food environments and improving food security in Australia. As part of the Equity and Communities team at Health and Wellbeing Queensland, she is excited to share her insights on food systems and health in remote Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as it relates to the Gather + Grow program, the  Queensland Government’s 10-year strategy to improve food security in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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