Date & Time: 
Tuesday 28 April 2015
1:00pm-2:00pm

Presented by Tira Foran, CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, Canberra. This talk will unpack and extend arguments offered in a paper published last September in World Development (Foran et al. 2014). Both “food security” and “innovation” are invoked frequently in policy discourse around agricultural development, with innovation seen as vital to achieving better food security outcomes. Donor and practitioner enthusiasm for agriculture “innovation” notwithstanding, the intricate and contested nature of food systems means that efforts to innovate cannot escape complexity. Motivated by donor interest in innovative thinking on food security, we conducted an interdisciplinary, triangulation analysis of four divergent conceptual frameworks, each relevant to diagnosing food insecurity in developing countries.

We found notable tensions as well as synergistic interactions between agroecology, agricultural innovation systems, social-ecological systems, and political ecology. Cross-framework interactions enhance our understanding of how sectoral and macro-economic development strategies impact on livelihoods, food availability and access. More effective dialogue between divergent conceptual frameworks enables diagnosis of complex food insecurity problems, and context-specific interventions and innovations. Informed use of divergent approaches constitutes a new ambition for research and practice.


Foran, T.; Butler, J.R.A.; Williams, L.J.; Wanjura, W.J.; Hall, A.; Carter, L. and Carberry, P.S. 2014. Taking Complexity in Food Systems Seriously: An Interdisciplinary Analysis. World Development 61(0): 85-101.


Biographical: A human geographer working with CSIRO since 2010, Tira Foran was previously based in Thailand for a decade. His PhD, completed in 2007, focuses on conflicts around hydropower development in Thailand. His research interests include food, energy, and water-related challenges, particularly for people in least developed countries.

All welcome.

For further information, contact convenor Jane O’Sullivan j.osullivan@uq.edu.au

Location: 
Global Change Institute (20) Seminar Room 275 Staff House Rd ST LUCIA QLD 4072
Contact Email: 

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