Irena Knezevic was one of the students in the PeaceMeal Project‘s first cohort of students for the online course offered through the National Peace Academy. Here, she describes her work with FoodARC and a presentation she gave to tie in her learning from the course with her professional life in food security research.
FoodARC is a food security research centre at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (We were formerly known as the Participatory Action Research and Training Centre on Food Security.) Our research is community-based and action oriented. We also train students and create opportunities for mutual learning among researchers, community members, and policy makers.
Here at FoodARC we look at food from many angles – we focus on food security, but see how we define it:
“Food security exists when everyone has access to safe, nutritious food of the variety and amount that they need and want, in a way that maintains their dignity. Food security also exists when people are able to earn a living wage by growing, producing, processing, handling, selling, and serving food, as well as when our planet is protected for future generations.”
Clearly, by focusing on one concern – food security – we in fact encompass a range of issues. Affordability, farmers and fishers’ livelihoods, processing and distribution, ecology, food skills, community engagement with food, policy and social justice – we are interested in all of that.
We recently hosted a brown-bag lunch with three presentations. One graduate student (Nadia Pabani) presented on her work with PhotoVoice
– an innovative method meant to inspire creative contributions from research participants. Another graduate student (Kendra Read) spoke about her collaboration with the national student organization Meal Exchange
and the work she is doing in the area of “knowledge mobilization
” – the process of turning research findings into action.
My role in this session was to present on my recent experience of taking the PeaceMeal online course. My presentation notes
will give you a glimpse of my reflection on the course, but they will not quite do the justice to the course, or properly portray how the course helped me make connections between peace-building and what I do. How, one may wonder, are food security research and peace-building connected?