J. Warren Nystrom Award

I am honored to be selected as a finalist for the American Association of Geographer’s (AAG) 2022 Nystrom Award!

The award comes from a fund established by former AAG Executive Director J. Warren Nystrom (next time you see a printed map or globe, check out the name) and supports an annual prize for a paper based upon a recent dissertation in geography.

Based on my PhD dissertation, my paper, “Crisis Caring: Re-making New Orleans’ Foodscapes” was presented to the Nystrom Committee and other geographers at the AAG’s recent annual conference.

As part of my process of preparing for the presentation, I gave a practice talk to a group of friends — academics from a wide range of disciplines, colleagues from New Orleans and Grow Dat Youth Farm, and co-facilitators from VISIONS Inc. Their collective feedback was amazing, I took it all on, and it drastically strengthened my presentation. Thanks to all contributing their wisdom, and a huge thanks to Austin Zeiderman of LSE for writing a letter of recommendation in support of the award.

New article “The History of the Land” in Human Geography journal

It has been a pleasure to convene and co-author this article with both academic and practitioner colleagues as part of the special issue of Human Geography: Radical Food Geographies, edited by Colleen Hammelman, Kristin Reynolds, and Charles Levkoe. While we wrote this piece in the context of food justice, our aim is for it to be relevant to any place you live or work. 

Jabari Brown, Kevin Connell, Jeanne Firth and Theo Hilton. (2020) “The history of the land: a relational and place-based approach for teaching (more) radical food geographies”. Human Geography 13(3).

Robin Wall Kimmerer and Gary Nabhan believe that we must have “re-story-ation” if we desire environmental restoration. In our article, we argue that the History of the Land workshop at Grow Dat Youth Farm serves as an excellent guide for engaging in this process of “re-story-ation”. As Jabari Brown asks in our interview in Part 2:
“In which ways have we created the problems that we are living with today because we were not in the right kind of relationship with the land?”
We must hear the land’s stories in order to form new relationships with the land, and with one another.

Read it here.

The History of the Land (Brown et al., 2019) is a workshop, field trip, and pedagogical lens developed at Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans and led with teenagers and adults. Using popular education methods, the lesson explores the relational biography of the land on which the farm currently resides. We argue that the history of the land is essential to understanding the spatial and social configurations of contemporary foodscapes; however, critical land histories are not engaged with in many alternative food initiatives and food justice organizations. We offer the adaptable pedagogical apparatus of the History of the Land as a tool for others to further the generative convergence of food geographies and anti-oppression work. In addition to discussing the workshop at Grow Dat, we reflect upon our own learning and healing from participating in an ongoing series of history of the land field trips to rural Mississippi where several of us hold deep personal ties to the land. We coauthors are a collective of farmers, food activists, educators, and academics. Across differences of gender, race, sexuality, class, location, and history, learning about the land together has brought us into intimate conversation about loss, memory, narration, transformation, and how we imagine alternate, liberatory futures.



AAG 2019: Radical Food Geographies and Scholar Activist/Activist Scholar Convenings

I’m excited to be both a presenter and a participant at food and justice-focused events at this year’s American Association of Geographers annual meeting in Washington, D.C. It was lovely to host many of my colleagues from LSE and beyond in New Orleans last year, and to welcome geographers from across the world to a ‘History of the Land’ workshop at Grow Dat Youth Farm.

Today, April 2, the conference launches with a pre-workshop in Radical Food Geographies hosted by the AAG Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group and the FJSAAS (Food Justice Scholar Activist/Activist Scholar Community of Practice).

On April 4, I’ll be helping facilitate a discussion on the Food Justice Scholar-Activism/Activist Scholarship in Geography panel (aka FJSAAS). Check out the awesome community of practice being built of food scholar activists/activists scholars FJSAAS here.

On April 7, I’m presenting new research ‘Foodscape Lagniappe: Philanthropy in the “new” New Orleans’ in the session Transformation of what, for whom, by whom? (II): Agency and pathways of change.

As sad as I am to be missing N.K. Jemisin as the writer-in-residence at Newcomb at Tulane this week (!!!), spending time with this community of food workers and thinkers is a pretty solid consolation prize.

New Orleans foodscapes and beyond: American Association of Geographers annual meeting

This year, the massive annual AAG (American Association of Geographers) convening is taking place in our own backyard of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The events I’m spearheading or involved with include:

Co-organizer with Yuki Kato (Georgetown) of the session ‘Urban Agriculture in post-“Disaster” Cities’

Co-presenter with Yuki Kato (Georgetown) of the paper ‘The Role of External Funding in the Development of Food Systems and Urban Agriculture in Post-Katrina New Orleans’  Session sponsored by the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group, and Urban Geography

Organizer of the field trip and workshop at Grow Dat Youth Farm, ‘The History of the Land’ sponsored by the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group

Co-author with Catarina Passidomo (University of Mississippi, Oxford) of the paper ‘New Orleans’ “Renaissance” and the New Southern Food Movement’ in the session ‘Food geographies: culture, media, politics 2’ sponsored by Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group and Media and Communication Geography

Discussant for the paper session ‘Bodies and Spaces ‘of’ and ‘at’ Risk in the City: Framings, Responses and Resistance (II)’ organized by my incredible colleagues at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the Department of Geography and the Environment, Jordana Ramalho, Laura Antona and Paroj Banerjee

Thanks to the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group for helping organize the field trip to Grow Dat and for their sponsorship of our sessions here, in addition to many other convenings.

Review for LSE Review of Books

I enjoyed reviewing the new collection out from Bloomsbury, Making Milk: The Past, Present and Future of Our Primary Food edited by Mathilde Cohen and Yoriko Otomo (2017), for the LSE Review of Books. My contribution is part of an effort to amplify women’s voices in publishing for the month of March — here’s a great overview of the initiative by Rosemary Deller, Managing Editor of the Review.

Making Milk assembles a provocative collection of strong interdisciplinary scholarship to explore milk’s material, affective, historical, semantic, symbolic and economic relations. Some of my favorite chapters come from Mathilde Cohen, Greta Gaard and Richie Nimmo.

Within the collection, the editors ascribe to a non-biological definition of milk, ‘so as to encompass the full range of milk’s material, affective, historical, semantic, symbolic, and economic relations’. Practically, this means that the essays included are interdisciplinary, covering a wide range of scholarship. More conceptually, the authors’ use of a non-biological definition is key to the book’s successful contribution to critical thought. I love a thread of questioning that is tied to this definition: is milk a ‘natural’ substance? (echoed by the question ‘what is it?’ proposed by Greta Gaard in Chapter Eleven, which Gaard engages to challenge gender dualism and binary thinking). What is natural?

Thinking about milk in light of this collection, it is a slippery substance. Right at the moment of pinning it down, of assigning milk a definitive label and categorisation, its flow changes course. Slippages drip into unexpected places and open up new lines of inquiry, making milk indeed deserving of our attention and care.

Read on here.