Friday, October 31, 2008

New work resolution for 08-09

Nearing the end of my masters, I find myself constantly distracted. I haven't done any work since I came back from fieldwork. It got worse after Japan and Peru. Finally I got a minute to reorganize my desk and came up with a new schema for the rest of my masters career. Gawd It's time to get rid of my september calendar on my desk. It's November for crying out loud! Time to let November shine!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Post-lecture reflections

Today I finally gave my lecture on ethical food.

I felt I digress quite a bit and at points repetitive. It would have been a tad too confusing for the students that are uninitiated to the world of "food".

Well there were many people yawning and even falling asleep but that can't be helped. I made them laugh with a few jokes and go ewwww with my MAS earthworm-coleslaw story haha oh well. I hope they got the point. The turn out was better than expected. The class had about 150 students and at least 100 turned up! I really hope I got them thinking more about where their food come from.

Harvey felt that the lecture was good. He didn't give me any criticism at all except saying that it was good. He will use some of my slides in the environmental sustainability module next semester.

Heather (student and food activist) felt that:

- it was comprehensive and good breadth
- not enough depth
- could have included case study on one particular label perhaps
- include more food activist groups (like food not bomb, freeganism)
- could have included biofuel
- learnt something new about the ethicureans
- like the graph I did on eco-anthropocentrism vs consumer-producer centered movements/concepts
- felt that some of the uninitiated students might not be able to know enough for me to talk about elitism of slow food movement
- could have included more examples from my fieldwork

Well I guess people are more generous than I am with myself! Nonetheless I had fun :) It was particularly good that Harvey was giving out chocolates for the students and we could use the chocolates as examples about where food comes from. That's really helpful! I think I still have more to improve on in terms of organizing my thoughts, the flow of learning for the students to better understand concept. I have to stop saying "we'll come back to that later". Better flow would have prevented that. I should have at least rehearsed once. Oh well bummer. It didn't help that at points I actually forgot what I was talking about or forgot names of examples. Oh dear dear. I should remember to skip over when I forget. Still I kept good time and didn't overshot. They even got a 10minute break! :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Joining an organized session at AAG

Truth be told I agonized over getting an organized session at AAG for the longest time. The original session I wanted on food and vulnerability was full(!) and so I turned away from the cultural and political ecology group and found that the Environmental Perception and Behavioral Geography Specialty Group had a session on geographies of sustainable consumption.

I tweaked my abstract a lil and sent it in! The organizers turned out to be quite excited about my paper even though I'm talking about production as much as consumption. Apparently the session has turned out to be quite popular and was split into several. Today I finally took the guts to check out the session I'm in and hold and behold, I was grouped together with Michael Goodman! I don't know how big of a name is he but the fact that I've read him several times in my literature reviews makes me extremely excited. I think I even quoted him in one of my papers. *giggle like a schoolgirl* Wait, I am a schoolgirl!

The reason why joining organized sessions is really important is as Henry told us at GRS. If you go to a generic session, you may be placed together with random people. Chances of getting a big name is slim and so you might get zero audience. Maybe just you and the chair. Gosh some of the speakers might not even turn up. Having a big name guarantees you some audience which is good! And of course the networking! W00t! Either way, I didn't expect Goodman but damn it's good.

And I'm really excited about the other speakers too. Shit that's what going to a conference should be about. Learning and exchanging ideas.

Geographies of Sustainable Lifestyles I: Conceptualising Consumption

The start of the 21st century has been characterised by urgent calls to examine the role of consumption in driving global environmental change and framing responses to these ecological dilemmas. Indeed, the ways in which consumption has been constituted and influenced by environmental, technological, economic, social and political processes have become critical issues for geographers. The convergence of these two research agendas has therefore provided geographers and other social science researchers with a range of opportunities to explore the emerging contexts for 'sustainable lifestyles' and the growing political importance of behaviour change. These have been undertaken at a range of scales (from individuals and households, to organisations and institutions) and have examined numerous environmentally-related practices that encompass consumptive, habitual and 'post-consumption' behaviours. Indeed, research in this field is characterised by a range of theoretical and applied approaches. Accordingly, this session aims to bring together geographers and other social scientists who are engaged in research on sustainable consumption, lifestyles and behaviour change. The session will provide an opportunity to explore the range of approaches towards sustainable consumption and will enable delegates to share theoretical and practical experiences from their research. We welcome contributions from researchers who are exploring this wide field, including those working on issues such as energy conservation, water resources, waste management, travel and transport, leisure and tourism and the broader field of ethical and green consumption. Contributions are welcome from those working at different scales (e.g. individual, household, organisational) and in a range of contexts (socio-economic, cultural, environmental).

Anticipated Attendance: 40

Frances Fahy
Stewart Barr

Stewart Barr

Michael K Goodman, Encountering (Ethical) Consumption and the Limits to an Ethics of Care
Jonathan Everts, The Ethical Consumer?
November Peng Ting Tan, Producing "Ethical Food" in the Singapore-Malaysia Vegetable Trade System
Louise Rutt, Commodifying Charity: Alternative Giving as Ethical Consumption
Lucy Cartlidge, The 'making' of eco-homes in England

Environmental Perception and Behavioral Geography Specialty Group

Ethical Food Lecture Slides

I will be giving this lecture on Tuesday, 28 October. I think the organization still needs a bit reworking. I hope I don't overrun on time. Will remember to pace myself. Eek. There's just too much to say. At some point I think it's not very coherent. I must definitely work out what I intend to say :) I guess that means I will be killing some trees to print out the outline. Bummer. Turn out I didn't print anything after all! Figured I'll use my mac which allows me to view my notes while doing the presentation. Love my mac *hugs* saved a few trees that way!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Singapore Food Industries looks into setting up pig farm in China

By Wong Yee Fong, Channel NewsAsia
23 October 2008

SINGAPORE: Singapore Food Industries is studying the feasibility of setting up a pig farm in China's Jilin Province.

The feasibility study will be completed within the next six to 12 months.

The plan is to have the pig farm and pork-processing facilities within a food zone.

Singapore's National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan says Singapore will invest in the project and provide its expertise in food safety in the joint partnership with the Jilin government.

Mr Mah said, "The long-term objective is to provide supply of food, not just for local consumption, and export to Singapore, which is in line with the overall objective of ensuring food security in Singapore."