SAFN 2022 Awards!

Congratulatory cake! Green Tea Milles Crepe Cake by Wishing Town Bakery, New Orleans, photo by David Beriss

Amanda Green (SAFN Award Committee) and Jennifer Jo Thompson (SAFN President)

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition offers four awards for student research and writing. These are the Thomas Marchione Food as a Human Right, the Christine Wilson Undergraduate and Graduate Paper Awards, and the SAFN Graduate Student Research Award. SAFN is pleased to announce the winners of its 2022 student awards competitions.

The Thomas Marchione Award honors the legacy of Dr. Marchione who sought to identify “the best and more sustainable approaches to fulfill the right to food.” The award is intended for graduate students engaged in or having recently completed research related to food and human rights, food security, food justice, food sovereignty, and related issues.

SAFN is pleased to announce that the 2022 Thomas Marchione Food-as-a-Human-Right award winner is Mecca Burris, a Ph.D. candidate in Indiana University’s Department of Anthropology. Burris’ research assesses the relationship between living in rural environments engaged in industrial agriculture and its impact on stress, food security, growth, and development for girls and their families in Costa Rica. Using a holistic, socio-ecological approach, Burris measured distance to industrial agriculture and forested areas as well as measures of food insecurity, pesticide exposure, nutrition, and growth measurements, to understand the interrelationships of these elements. Following analysis, Burris intends to make policy recommendations related to food security in this area characterized by foreign-owned banana and pineapple production.

The Christine Wilson Awards honor the legacy of food and nutrition anthropologist Dr. Christine Wilson. The awards are intended to recognize outstanding research papers for one graduate and one undergraduate student with perspectives in nutrition, food studies, and anthropology.

SAFN is pleased to announce that the 2022 Christine Wilson Graduate Award winner is Ariana Gunderson, a Ph.D. student in Indiana University’s Department of Anthropology. Gunderson’s paper, entitled “The collaborative creation of restaurant space on the streets of Covid-era San Francisco,” explores the ways in which Covid-19 enabled restaurateurs and their customers to produce new spaces of socialization in parklets. The paper explores the process of reorganizing public and private spaces for dining through emerging material and linguistic practices.

SAFN is also pleased to announce that the 2022 Christine Wilson Undergraduate Award winner is Mariel Camargo, an undergraduate at Stanford University. Camargo’s paper, “Gangsta Gardening: Revitalizing Urban Futures through Guerilla Gardening in South Central Los Angeles,” poses the question of how individuals and communities are responding to food insecurity in impoverished urban places like south central LA through “guerrilla gardening.” The paper raises questions on both the dearth of study and literature on the subject of guerrilla gardening as well as the resistant motivations of its practitioners.

The SAFN Student Research Award supports the research phase of an original project focused on food and nutritional anthropology. This award is focused on decolonized, ethical research on food justice and food sovereignty.

This year’s Student Research Award goes to Ashley McLeod for her project entitled, “Toward a Decolonial Cuisine: The Entangled Politics of Food Revitalization in Native-led Culinary Organizations.” McLeod is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. Her research project examines the roles of Native chefs and growers, and the engagement of consumers, and the complex entanglements between food, identity, and social change in the context of Indigenous food revitalization efforts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Through ethnographic research in four Indigenous food businesses, McLeod investigates what decolonization looks like in practice—examining the tensions and negotiations emerging as Native producers contribute to local food sovereignty movements while also embracing capitalist and entrepreneurial models for their businesses.  

In coming days we will publish a little more about each award winner and their work.

Many thanks to the SAFN award committee (Amanda Green and Ryan Adams) and to the reviewers for their hard work this year!

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