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Sharing stories of sustainable food system transformation: Podcasts and Community Learning
Alison Blay-Palmer, the UNESCO Chair on Food Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies, is the founding Director for the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems and a Professor in Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research and teaching combine her passions for sustainable food systems, biodiversity and community viability through civil society engagement and innovative governance. Alison collaborates with academics and practitioners across Canada and internationally including partners in Brazil, France, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States . Alison has been a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists since 2016.
Work by the UNESCO Chair on Food Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School for International Affairs offers significant, relevant insights for sustainability pedagogy, knowledge mobilization and community learning. Sustainable food systems are at the nexus of healthy people and a healthy planet. They can address United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) and underpin other SDGs including our capacity to address poverty and gender equality through viable livelihoods and food access, environmental regeneration through improved soils, air, water and biodiversity, the creation of more viable rural and urban communities, as well as social and cultural goals by valuing and honouring food heritage and traditions. This research also provides inspirational stories to bring learning to life. One of the most accessible and interesting ways we do this is through our podcast, Handpicked: Stories from the Field. The podcast allows us to bring together the many voices in communities that are addressing challenges such as climate change, food insecurity and biodiversity loss. For example, three podcasts focus on Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories in Canada. Elders, youth and community leaders tell the stories of how traditional food systems are adapting to and can help mitigate the climate crisis.