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Mapping agri-food

Working Group 4: Mapping agri-food

Gareth Enticott [1] , Vaughan Higgins [2]

1: Cardiff University, UK; 2: Charles Sturt University, Australia

The purpose of this working group is to explore the use of maps and mapping in agri-food. In agriculture, farm maps are vital tools in the organization of the Common Agricultural Policy, implementing agri-environmental schemes and managing biodiversity. In food, maps are used to create terroir, promote alternative food futures, and trace consumption habits. Agri-food maps may contain perceptual, experiential and/or objective information; they may be created by hand, collectively and/or enacted by technologies such as Geographic Information Systems, GPS, drones or social media.

Recent critical studies of cartography have challenged the objective nature of maps. Whereas once maps were seen as objective representations whose purpose was to communicate effectively, maps are now seen as expressions of power, used to create knowledge and legitimize certain forms of expertise and practice over others. In this view, maps are seen as constantly in the making:  the focus of study are those mapping practices required to stabilize the meanings of maps against competing interpretations and manage ongoing technological and embodied challenges in the creation of maps.

The purpose of this session is to reinvigorate studies of maps and mapping practices across all aspects of agri-food studies. The centrality of maps to agri-food provides fertile terrain for more critical studies of mapping. In particular, this working group will seek to analyse:

  • How maps as used as symbols of power in agri-food governance
  • Farmers’ use of new mapping technologies to manage farms, fields and flocks.
  • The role of participatory mapping in agri-food
  • The use of technologies such as GIS, GPS, radio tracking and other spatial technologies in agri-food
  • The role of maps in managing plant and animal diseases
  • Creating maps to promote alternative food futures
  • Forms of counter-mapping and resistance to ‘official’ agri-food maps
  • The use/role of social media in mapping practices