Food and Ag Under the Big Sky

Announcing the Joint 2011 Annual Meetings of the

Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS),

Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS),

& Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN)

June 9 – 12, 2011

University of Montana – Missoula

Call for Participation

The conference theme acknowledges the site for the meetings in Montana, which is known as Big Sky Country because of its expansive landscapes dotted with working farms, ranches, forests, and wild areas.  The Big Sky also encompasses the broader global context linking food and agricultural systems around the world.  In many ways, Montana shares characteristics with rural areas elsewhere.  In their struggle for sustainable livelihoods and food security, farmers, ranchers, and their communities are challenged by concentration of economic power and the vagaries of global markets.   Yet, like in many other areas, Montanans are cultivating place-based innovations in food, farming and conservation.  Thus, on the one hand, the industrialization, concentration, and globalization of the dominant food system profoundly influence how food is produced, processed, and consumed.  On the other hand, there are also spaces of resistance and creativity in which people attempt to govern and shape their relationships with food and agricultural systems.

Acknowledging these strategies for transformation, the 2011 theme highlights people, partnerships and policies.  At the core of efforts to grow innovative food and agriculture systems are talented and dedicated individuals.  Making effective collective action possible, partnerships honor connections among people and organizations across public and private sectors.  Lastly, attention to policies signals the broader context of government, trade, and legal agreements that shape local, regional, national, and global food and agricultural politics and practices.   Join us under the Big Sky to explore the possibilities and strategies for change.

Although our organizations encourage a broad spectrum of topics at our conferences, we especially encourage papers, posters, panel sessions, roundtables, and workshops that speak directly to the theme.  We welcome not only academic sessions, but also strongly encourage activists, government staff, and those with practical knowledge of food and agricultural systems to participate.   We welcome submissions on all aspects of food, nutrition, and agriculture, including those related to:

  • Art, Media, & Literary Analyses
  • Change & Development
  • Culture & Cultural Geography
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Agroecology & Conservation
  • Ethics & Philosophy
  • Food Safety & Risk
  • Gender & Ethnicity
  • Globalization
  • History
  • Inequality, Access, Security & Justice
  • Knowledge
  • Local Food Systems
  • Pedagogy
  • Politics, Policies & Governance in National & Global Contexts
  • Research Methods, Practices & Issues
  • Social Action & Social Movements
  • Sustainability
  • Science & Technologies

Tours (tentative):

Montana is home to many food, farming, and conservation initiatives that will make for lively and informative tours.  Our tentative plans include the following:

  • Journey up the famed Blackfoot River valley where ranchers rear grass-fed cattle for local markets, practice rest-rotation grazing, and participate in one of the most significant efforts at community-based watershed management, wildlife conservation and land use planning – the Blackfoot Challenge.
  • Explore efforts to build the infrastructure for local food markets – from the farm level, to a highly-successful growers’ marketing cooperative, to micro-processing and business assistance, and to delivery to restaurants and cafeterias.
  • Visit the Flathead Indian Reservation, home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, to learn about water rights, tribal sovereignty, cultural heritage, and environmental stewardship.
  • Explore several initiatives working with people, partnerships, and policies to enhance community food security and to protect the fertile soils that are the basis of all food systems.

Conference Location and Special Features:

Nestled in the Northern Rockies, Missoula is a vibrant, small city.  Conference events will be held on the beautiful University of Montana campus, just a short walk to dorms, hotels and downtown.  Missoula’s downtown bustles with art galleries, small businesses, excellent restaurants, micro-breweries, museums, farmers markets, and even a carousel featuring hand-crafted ponies.  Of course, recreational opportunities abound.  Trails run alongside the Clark Fork River through downtown, while the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area begins a mere four miles from the city center.  Several other wilderness areas are within a 1-2 hour drive.  Glacier National Park is three hours to the north, and Yellowstone National Park is five hours to the southeast.  Fly fishing enthusiasts come from around the world to try their luck on our famed rivers, like the Big Blackfoot.  For more information: and

Keynote Addresses:

  • “The Culture of the Table:  Reweaving the Contexts of Celebration” by Albert Borgmann Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of Montana, noted author, and widely-respected philosopher of society and culture with a particular emphasis on technology.
  • Remarks on Food and Agricultural Policy by US Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), the only active farmer in Congress and a pioneer of organic agriculture in Montana (tentative).

Organizers and Local Arrangements Co-Chairs:

Jill Belsky, University of Montana,

Neva Hassanein, University of Montana,

Program Committee Co-Chairs:

Alison Harmon, Montana State University

Mary Stein, Montana State University

This conference is being organized collaboratively by faculty and staff from the University of Montana, Montana State University, and allied organizations and agencies.

Procedures for Submitting Abstracts:

Posters, Papers, Panels, Roundtables or Workshops

Due Date: February 1, 2011

Types of Sessions: Submissions may include proposals for:

  1. Research or Project Posters
  2. Individual papers (can have multiple authors)
  3. Panels (3-4 papers around a single theme)
  4. Roundtables (informal discussion with several leaders on a particular topic)
  5. Workshops (interactive session providing some training and opportunity for collective thought and creativity)

Submission: Abstracts should be submitted electronically and on-line.  A web-based format for submissions will become available in late fall 2010. Watch the websites for the societies and the conference for more details.

The following contents will be required:

  1. Type of submission
  2. Title
  3. Submitter’s name, organizational affiliation, and full mailing address
  4. Submitter’s e-mail address
  5. Submitter’s telephone number
  6. Names and organizational affiliations of co-authors on papers or posters
  7. Email addresses for all co-authors, panelists, and/or roundtable participants
  8. Abstract (250 words or less) describing the proposed paper, poster, panel, roundtable, or workshop.  For panels, please include an abstract for the panel as a whole, and an individual abstract for each individual paper.  Include contact information for the moderator (name, affiliation, e-mail, and phone) and each presenter.  Other types of sessions involving more than one presenter should include name, affiliation, e-mail, and phone number for each person involved.

Acknowledgment and Notification: All proposals sent by e-mail will be acknowledged within a week of receipt.  We are able to either “accept” or “not accept.”   Our limited capacity will not allow us to provide a critique, and we reserve the right to limit multiple submissions by the same author.   Notification of status of proposal will be sent by February 28th.

Student Paper Competitions: To encourage participation by undergraduate and graduate students and to recognize excellence, both ASFS and AFHVS invite submissions to their student paper competitions.  Participants are encouraged to submit abstracts to the conference as well.  Please note that a paper may be submitted to only one, not both, of the competitions.  For more information please see: AFHVS or ASFS.  Direct your submissions to one of the following:

ASFS Student Paper Committee Chair: Riki Saltzman

AFHVS Student Paper Committee Chair: Janet Chrzan

Posted by David Beriss

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