2019 Fall/Winter Fellowship Award Recipients

Below are project details for our 2019 Fall/Winter Fellowship Award Recipients.

Kristie O’Neill

Location: Canada
Academic field: Sociology
Award category: PhD-holder

Guidance Memo

  • Title: “Living well through food: Examining messages about food in popular Kenyan media”
  • Keywords: Kenya. Meat, vegetarian, and vegan food. Blogs and magazines.
  • What We Learned From It:
    • Cultural themes, attitudes, and beliefs about food in today’s Kenyan society are uncovered by analyzing food-related content in three popular blogs and magazines. For example, it is found that lifestyle and nation are strong themes.
    • The Guidance Memo is useful to those who want to support local Kenyan food systems, to stave off the “Westernized” diet and/or nutrition transition, to reduce animal-based food consumption in Kenya. In particular, it helps them to grasp the huge importance of understanding local food cultures and dietary practices, and to use culturally appropriate food messages in their outreach work.
    • To promote desired food habits in Kenya, one can focus on three activities: (i) establish annual vegetarian and/or vegan food festivals; (ii) encourage individuals with culinary talent via awards; (iii) support “restaurant weeks” in urban centers where participating restaurants provide special menus that offer discounts or new recipes.

Links

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

  • Among the “burning questions” asked by front-line persons is a key group of questions on reducing consumer demand for animal-based food products. But how, how much, what kinds, and such food are consumed in different parts of the world vary tremendously. There is no single model, intervention, or strategy that can disrupt the current consumption patterns and reduce demands in all places. One has to expend the effort to grapple with each society and culture one at a time. And such efforts applied to a country in Africa is quite rare.
  • The approach taken by the applicant is very practical. Its key objective is to provide concrete strategies and culturally appropriate messages that resonate with local people so advocates can take advantage of the recent upsurge in food festivals, food blogs and magazines in Kenya to promote local, plant-based food.

Kiara Winans; Irina Mkrtchyan

Location: United States (Winans), Armenia (Mkrtchyan)
Academic field: Environmental science and engineering (Winans), Sustainability (Mkrtchyan)
Award category: PhD Team
Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period

Guidance Memo

  • Title: “Large–scale cattle and pig production systems in three regions of Armenia: Engaging frontline persons in assessing the environmental, animal, & human health conditions of these systems”
  • Keywords: Armenia. Dairy and beef production. Pig production. Large-scale producers. Role of government.
  • What We Learned From It:
    • An excellent overview and assessment of developments in large-scale cattle and pig productions in Armenia as seen in 2020, why they are happening and where they are heading, especially with regard to these production systems’ impact on the environment, animal wellbeing, and human health.
    • Suggestions of possible ways to generate linkages and partnerships among producers of large scale and small scale, the government, and consumers. For example, collaborations to develop awareness programs and adequate incentives for best practice in the management of manure and discarded plastics (both of which are serious problems currently).
    • We found the following particularly informative: Delineation of on-the-ground production processes with actual data (e.g. market price of the cheese produced); overall economic status of production in three main animal production regions/marzes in Armenia; current government policies and incentives that influence cattle and pig production systems (e.g. subsidized water and electricity, coronavirus-related programs); using LCA/lifecycle assessment to account for the environmental and human health impacts associated with the large-scale and small-scale cattle and pig and poultry production systems in Armenia.

Links

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

  • Raising cattle and pigs on a large scale happens in Armenia and is developing steadily. But when one thinks of places in the world with industrial animal agriculture, Armenia does not leap to one’s mind. We therefore welcome the applicant’s focus on Armenia and the proposed work to offer a broad characterization of large-scale dairy, beef, and pork production systems so that there is a better understanding of the pathways and drivers involved.
  • We also like the attention to specific practical matters/issues, the collection of data from fieldwork, and the inclusion of a range of stakeholders (e.g. government, NGOs, farmers) in addition to covering broad topics.