Hi Andrew, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I have worked primarily with questions relating to sustainable development, in the context of research, education and communications. I have pedagogical experience developing courses within the Masters programme in Sustainable Development jointly hosted at SLU and Uppsala University. Over the years I have led various projects within academia, research-policy organisations, and local government. For the last 4 years I have worked for SLU Urban Futures as a project coordinator, most recently taking on the role as Ultuna Hub Coordinator.
I have an interdisciplinary background with a Masters in Environmental Science, a Masters in Sustainable Development, and a Bachelors Degree in Political Science. I have explored questions relating to changes in agricultural practices and how farmers relate to environmental policy; and socio-political dimensions concerning the emergence of local food organisations as part of the solidarity economy.
What does your role as a hub coordinator at Ultuna include?
As Hub Coordinator I am responsible for engaging with researchers, teachers and local actors to explore critical inter- and transdisciplinary research concerned with sustainable urban development. Part of the role is to support communication between research departments, faculties and societal actors with the aims of identifying and initiating various forms of collaboration. The work takes many different forms, from hosting workshops, seminars and conferences, establishing and allocating seed funding, to communicating research and collaboration.
Which topics or areas engage you the most?
Food systems transformation is an area I engage with a lot in my role, which looks at how we reshape our food system in various ways to create a healthy, equitable and sustainable future. There are a variety of different topics which fall under this broad area of research, including food security, food sovereignty, production/consumption questions, food waste etc.
My areas of interest can be termed as foodscapes, meaning the interconnections and inter-relations between people, place and food. The relationship between urban food environments and health is particularly interesting, where a complex mix of multi-scalar external and personal factors influence food consumption behaviors.
As project coordinator for the Food&Cities project, as well as the Foodscapes theme at UF, I currently work a lot with the topic of Food Planning. Broadly speaking, Food Planning refers to the integration of food issues into urban planning. I am particularly interested in how city-regions have emerged as innovation spaces where national policy, local government, business, small-scale actors and civil society interact in dynamic ways, often producing solutions to context-specific food issues.