While COVID and remote work options have taught me that it is possible to build connections while not living in community, I know from having spent time in different parts of the world and the province that nothing can beat living in place in order to understand the context in which people make their daily life choices and plans. In this province many decisions are made from St. John’s, which shares features of life with rural Newfoundland but also differs dramatically. I see this opportunity not just for me as a scholar but for me as a person, a mother and a wife.
Receiving the Community Scholar funding allows my family and I to relocate for this time to experience together life in another part of the province so we as a family build deeper connections and understanding to this place as we search for sustainable solutions for living here in the future. This 10-week immersion in the Stephenville area will allow me to develop on the ground connections that will be the foundation of my developing research project. I will be more flexible to engage in various activities at the community level so I better understand the networks of people as they interact organically. I am still in the process of understanding how my research fits into ongoing community efforts towards food systems transformation. It is my hope that my presence as a scholar and advocate for food systems transformation (towards more equitable, sustainable options) will serve as a catalyzing influence on ongoing efforts.
In the domain of food studies across the country there is ever greater alignment between the theoretical understanding of what it takes to build more healthy, just and sustainable food systems and a practical building of bridges between diverse communities who experience the food system from different levels of accessibility and power. Being aware of my own privilege and history within this province, I see the importance of building connections outside my comfort zone in order to work towards a collaborative understanding and direction for a vision of more justice and sustainability in our shared food resources. I believe that it is only through developing social connections in the research process that I will be able to conduct research that matters.
Mitacs Accelerate project with The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation and The Lawson Foundation