July 15, 2021, by lzzeb

Geografia e Cibo 2021

A blog by Robert Hearn

This year’s Giornata della Società Studi Geografici (10-11 June) was dedicated to discussions surrounding the diverse geographies of food. The presentations contributed by participants across and throughout Italy were as cornucopian as might be expected at such a themed event hosted by an Italian organisation. Whilst very much an Italian affair, research in food geographies at British universities was well represented, particularly in excellent plenaries by Professor Michael Woods (Aberystwyth University) and Professor Moya Kneafsey (Coventry University).

My own contribution to proceedings took the form of a paper based on my research into the relationships between landscape change and traditional wild foods in the local rural gastronomies of NW Italy. My paper, ‘Where the Wild Things Are (but Weren’t):  de-wilding, re-wilding and the re-invention of gastro-culinary traditions’, focused on animal geographies in the region of Liguria, specifically around Varese Ligure in the Alta Val di Vara (pictured). The School of Geography has run an annual field course module about the area for nearly 30 years, and will do so again next year following a break caused by the pandemic. My talk formed part of a panel on rural cultural landscapes organised by Dr Roberta Cevasco – a long-time collaborator and colleague of the School of Geography – who is based at the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche (Pollenzo), a unique institution established in the spiritual home of the Slow Food Movement at Bra, Piedmont.

I’m grateful to the School of Geography for providing me with the opportunity to participate in this event.  Up next is the XXXIII Congresso Geografico Italiano (Padova, 8-12 September 2021) the theme of which this year is ‘Geography in/of Movement’ and where I will be contributing a paper on Italian animal geographies as ‘moveable feasts’.

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