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Handpicked: Stories from the Field

Presented by the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Handpicked: Stories from the Field is a podcast series that showcases research that drives positive change in our food systems—ways we produce, gather, eat, understand and dispose of our food. Produced and hosted by Amanda Di Battista and Laine Young, the series presents compelling, real-life stories of food practitioners, such as farmers, policymakers and activists. Episodes follow researchers and community partners in their efforts to make their food systems more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

Mar 8, 2021

In this episode of Handpicked: Stories from the FieldLaine Young speaks with Alexandra Rodriguez about Agricultura Urbana Participativa AGRUPAR, an urban agriculture project that aims to address food insecurity and improve people’s lives by creating more a sustainable food system in Quito, Ecuador. Using an intersectional lens, Laine and Alexandra’s conversation looks at the positive community-wide impacts of women's involvement in participatory urban agriculture projects and considers how women’s lived experience is governed by race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and other factors. Alexandra shares her experience working on the project as well as examples of how AGRUPAR is finding local solutions to the unique challenges facing Quito’s food system.  

Co-Producers & Hosts: Laine Young & Amanda Di Battista 
Sound Design & Editing: Laine Young & Amanda Di Battista
Research Assistant: Adedotun Babajide 

Alexandra Rodriguez
Erick Fay  

Support & Funding
Wilfrid Laurier University
The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
Balsillie School for International Affairs 

Music Credits
Keenan Reimer-Watts 


Moving Beyond Acknowledgments- LSPIRG
Whose Land
Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
FAO City Region Food System Program: Quito, Ecuador
RUAF Global Partnership
Milan Urban Food Policy Pact 
Intersectionality Matters Podcast
Growing Food in the City: Urban Agriculture in Quito, Ecuador, Through a Feminist Lens, paper by Laine Young  

Connect with Us:
Twitter: @Handpickedpodc
Facebook: Handpicked Podcast 

Glossary of Terms 

City Region Food System 

“A City Region Food Systems (CRFS) approach aims to foster the development of resilient and sustainable food systems within urban centres, peri-urban and rural areas surrounding cities by strengthening rural-urban linkages.”  

Food Policy 
Food policies are developed by governments at different scales to guide food-related decisions and actions. They inform and govern public, private, and non-profit sector actions related to improving food-related outcomes and can create opportunities for stakeholders to work together across sectors. 

Food Security  
Food security is the ability to access safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate, and sufficient food all year round. A person or community is food insecure when people cannot afford or have limited or no access to the food they need to nourish their bodies. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization state that “food insecurity can affect diet quality in different ways, potentially leading to undernutrition as well as. . . obesity.”  

Food Sovereignty
"Food Sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems."  

Food Waste 
Waste that is created through food production or food that is wasted because it is not eaten. Unnecessary food waste can be generated at all points along the food chain, including during production and distribution or at the household level.  

Informal Economy of Food  
Economies of food that emphasize “personal relationships, trust, and non-market values, which are inherently challenging to define and often impossible to quantify.” Informal economies of food are “spaces for non-traditional forms of innovation as well as opportunities for deep insights into social relationships, cultural meanings, and environmental values . . . and challenge us to think of economic systems in far more complex ways than mainstream economic theory would propose.”   

Intersectionality considers how different power relations, such as race, gender, sexuality, and class, among other things, impact an individual’s lived experienceThe Merrium-Webster dictionary defines intersectionality as, “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.” Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, an American legal scholar and civil rights activist, coined the term in 1989 to describe Black women’s experience of the intersection of sexism and racism  

Supply Chain 
All of the components of a system—including organizations, producers, suppliers, people, resources, activities, information, and infrastructures—that get a product to a consumer.   

Sustainable Food System 
Food systems that are “socially just, support local economies; are ecologically regenerative, and foster citizen engagement.”   

Sustainable Healthy Diets 
“Sustainable Healthy Diets are dietary patterns that promote all dimensions of individuals’ health and wellbeing; have low environmental pressure and impact; are accessible, affordable, safe and equitable; and are culturally acceptable.  

Territorial Food Strategy/Policy 
A set of formally agreed upon policies or strategies that guide programs and development related to food in a city region food system. In Quito, the development of a Territorial Food Strategy and Policy has been informed by a multi-stakeholder consultation process that brought together representatives from government, international and civil society organizations, research institutions, and the private sector to find a common vision, goals, and outcomes for the strategy and to identify key food system indicators, activities, and timelines.  

A town or city and surrounding areas where more than 1000 people live and population density is more than 400 people per square kilometre. The urban is often described in contrast to the rural and includes highly developed landscape and infrastructure, like public transit. 

Urban Agriculture 
Agriculture that takes place in cities, towns, or other urban areas. Urban agriculture can include community gardens, balcony or backyard gardens, raising chickens or other livestock, urban food gathering, etc.  

Discussion Questions 

  1. Why is food insecurity such a concern in Quito? What factors contribute to the risk of food insecurity among the citizens of Quito and how are these similar/different from the risks to food insecurity where you live?

  2. What is urban agriculture and how can it contribute to sustainable food system change? 

  3. How are AGRUPAR’s urban agriculture projects changing the lives of women in Quito? Why do you think small scale urban agriculture is having such a big impact

  4. What is intersectionality? Why is an intersectional analysis critical to understanding the lived experiences of food system actors, especially women and Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC)?