Accepted Paper:

Imagining food in 2040: interrogating prevalent narratives of Milan World fair  


Ângela Guimarães Pereira (European Commission )
Alba L'Astorina (CNR Italian National Research Council)
Irene Tomasoni
Alessia Ghezzi (DG Joint Research Centre - European Commission)

Paper short abstract:

Food Futuring Tours consisted of a series of walking tours in the EXPO2015 with invited citizens, who developed visions for food futures and future of foods. Ten visions were produced, which interrogate the main food narrative, celebrating technology fixes to our current predicaments.

Paper long abstract:

During the EXPO2015 in Milan - the world exhibition that focused on "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" - several countries have showcased technologies, innovation, culture, traditions, around food production, distribution, preservation and consumption. We invited 90 citizens to engage on Food Futuring Tours, which consisted of a series of walking tours in the EXPO's pavilions. Different groups of participants were invited to imagine the future of food and foods of the future, both individually and collectively, exploring what was visible in the food production, distribution and consumption narratives of the EXPO. Participants were asked to imagine visions of food for 2040, considering their possible social, ethical, cultural and environmental impacts.

Ten visions for 2040 were developed over the five encounters: 'Awareness', 'Cultivation', 'Party',


'Co-existence', Self-sustainability', 'Responsibility',



'Convergence'. Each of these were presented with a timeline, illustrated with photos taken by the participants tagged with different temporalities, a storyline, each emphasizing different strategies. Most visions were utopian, emphasizing human agency as a key driver.

All visions were similar as they were all quite critical of the EXPO narratives, but all focused on very different values and strategies to address current dilemmas of food production, distribution and consumption. Challenges were identified and explored by the participants in form of drivers, uncertainties and surprises, as in any scenario development exercise. Here we will describe how the futuring tours enacted a space to make sense of interconnections between places of food production and consumption, and how the value and quality of food were constructed and negotiated in the resulting visions.

Panel T092
Transition to Sustainable Food Systems: Integrative Perspectives on Production and Consumption