Burning Questions
Fellowship Award Winners

Ioulia Fenton

Location: United States
Academic field: Anthropology
Award category: PhD Candidate

Guidance Memo

  • Title: “Changing chicken in Guatemala: Relevance of poultry to income generation, food security, health and nutrition”
  • Keywords: Guatemala. Chickens and eggs. Industrial production. Consumption. Businesses and brands. International trade.
  • DOI: 10.15868/socialsector.36569
  • What We Learned From It:
    • It explains the major role played by a few powerful home-grown businesses and brands in flooding Guatemala with industrially-produced chickens.
    • It calls attention to the centrality of cross-border and international trade and treatises in making possible the ascendancy of “industrial chickens” in Guatemala.
    • It brings to the fore public health, food justice, and other significant issues that really matter in the Guatemalan context.
    • It exposes various key assertions and myths that help to hold in place chickens’ current popularity with consumers.
    • It offers practical strategies and actions one can take to turn things round (e.g. challenge industry through newspaper articles and on social media, work on passing Guatemalan laws on transparency in chicken production and on truthful advertising, valorize indigenous culinary knowledge).


Some of the Things We Really Liked when We Read the Application

  • Tackling the hugely complex issue of drivers of industrial food animal production in a particular country in a clear and measured way, focusing on several key factors and developments.
  • The Guidance Memo will be informed by the extensive interviews of persons in Guatemala working to improve the country’s food system that Ioulia conducted over 16 months.
  • The Guidance Memo will provide useful information that can be hard to obtain, for example:
    – Synthesis of studies as well as gray literature on industrial and backyard poultry production, distribution, and consumption in Guatemala.
    – Review of existing government laws and policies on the industrial poultry industry in Guatemala.
    – Consolidating examples of poultry industry’s self-proclaimed national health, social and economic goals.
  • Ioulia’s commitment to sharing her research with local advocates in Guatemala.

What Fenton says about the award:
“I applied for the Tiny Beam Fund fellowship because it was a rare opportunity to help deepen scientific “The call for applications to the Burning Questions Fellowship proved a serendipitous moment for me. I had been looking for ways to disseminate my research in more accessible forms for both front line persons and the general public. The Fellowship provides the support that I need to write about the under-researched and underreported topic of industrial chicken in Guatemala.” (Ioulia Fenton)

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