Accepted Paper:

Rurs in urbs (re-visited): European urban agriculture in the age of austerity.   


Mary Corcoran (National University of Ireland Maynooth )

Paper short abstract:

This paper uses visual methods to explore the resurgence of urban agriculture in the modern European city. UA offers the potential for sustainability not just in terms of food production but also in terms of fomenting community solidarity and creating a new ‘space of potential’ in the public realm

Paper long abstract:

Urban agriculture (UA) is a complex set of practices. Farmers working in and serving the urban and peri-urban area, allotment plot holders, community garden volunteers, people selling their produce through farmers markets in the city or schools 'grow it yourself projects' are all engaging in a form of urban agriculture. Indeed, it may be best to conceptualise urban agriculture in terms of a continuum extending from urbanites engagement with agriculture on the one hand, to the place of agriculture in what we think of as urban or peri-urban space, on the other. In recent years, there has been an upsurge in UA across Europe linked to consumer concerns about food quality, traceability and sustainability; increased environmental awareness, and the impact on many urbanites of economic austerity programmes. Drawing on a Europe-wide investigation of UA this paper will employ a visual methodology to elucidate the myriad ways in which UA has become embedded in the contemporary European cityscape. The visual images signal the possibilities offered by UA not only in terms of generating sustainable food production practices, but also in terms of sustaining communities.

Panel G16
Towards an anthropology of sustainability?