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The American University of Rome and the American Academy in Rome

 in collaboration with

the Economics, Management and Institutions Department of the University of Naples Federico II and
the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Pisa University

under the Patronage of Expo Milano 2015 and the European Society of Rural Sociology


2 October 2015
Location: Rome, The American University of Rome and the American Academy in Rome



[Please note: Registration for this event is now closed.]

The complexity of industrial food production, processing and distribution and the growing distance between producers and consumers are at the center of heightened attention in academia and in social movements across the globe, with the latter in particular reclaiming democratic space on how food is grown processed and commercialized. The industrial production and distribution system by transnational and national corporations has been qualified by various scholars as deterritorialized, placeless and generating foods that are standardized and homogenized. Concomitantly, alternative production processes are taking place with the view to re-embedding food in its territorial, cultural and social context. This food relocalization is usually associated with the contested notions of quality and sustainability; growing and consuming food locally is considered by some scholars and depicted in the media as beneficial for the health, the environment and the local economy.

The relocalization of food production is part of a more general agenda faced by the international community in relation to global food production and consumption. In a world of plenty, there are still 805 million people who are undernourished and 1.4 billion who are overweight, representing both human suffering and a heavy burden on the countries’ public health sector. The dramatic loss of biodiversity, the threats posed by climate changes and the expected increase of the world population to 9.1 billion by 2050 invite new reflections on the sustainability of the Earth’s resources and on the local-global linkages to steer collectively towards equitable and sustainable food production systems as well as sustainable diets. The framing of this problem occurs through academia but it is also shared, co-created and resonated through the media and the arts.

The aims of the Conference are:

  • to review theories and empirical evidence on local food production and consumption and their contextualization in the current and future prospects of the world food situation;
  • to contribute to the knowledge, teaching and dialogue on food as an interdisciplinary topic and identify areas of work and research from a social science and liberal arts perspective, including new communication genres.

The themes of the Conference for the contributions include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Local foods and global sustainability challenges
  • Local foods and sustainable consumption
  • Local foods and sustainable diets
  • Local foods and biodiversity
  • Environmental sustainability of local foods
  • Social sustainability of local foods
  • Economic sustainability of local foods
  • Consumers’ knowledge about foods, localness and quality
  • The construction of quality
  • Marketing of local foods
  • Local foods in the U.S. and the EU
  • Technologies for sustainable local food production
  • Governance and policies for sustainable consumption
  • Food’s environmental footprint
  • Local foods for food and nutrition security

Keynote speaker

Tim Lang, University College London

Invited speakers

Gianluca Brunori, University of Pisa
Maria Fonte, University of Naples Federico II

Chair of the Organizing Committee

Maria Grazia Quieti, Dean of Graduate Studies and Program Director, AUR

Organizing and Scientific Committee

Gianluca Brunori, University of Pisa
Robert Buganza, AUR Adjunct Faculty (Film and Digital Media Program)
Barbara Burlingame, AUR Adjunct Faculty (MA in Food Studies)
Lorenzo Coretti, AUR Faculty ((Film and Digital Media Program)
Maria Fernandez, Honorary Research Fellow, Bioversity International
Maria Fonte, University of Naples Federico II
Kristen Palana, AUR Faculty (Film and Digital Media Program)
Rome Sustainable Food Project, American Academy in Rome

English will be the working language of the Conference.



The conference is free of charge.
Lunch will be provided for those who wish it, the cost is 10 euros, payable on arrival at the conference.
The program includes morning tea and farewell drinks.

Below you will find a number of pdf documents relating to further detail around the conference: