2020 Fall/Winter Fellowship Award Recipients

Below are project details for our 2020 Fall/Winter Fellowship Award Recipients.

Timothy Clark, Stefano Longo

Location: U.S. (Clark); U.S./Sweden (Longo)
Academic field: Sociology (Clark); Sociology (Longo)
Award category: PhD Team

Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period

  1. Trends and data related to global aquaculture.
    • Figures and tables to show the meteoric rise of farmed (as opposed to wild-caught) fish as a global food commodity, which kinds of species are farmed most at industrial scales, which nations farm the most fish.
  2. Ecological impacts of aquaculture.
    • The Guidance Memo will categorize the ecological risks according to each farming method and species of fish.
  3. Mapping of global farmed fish supply chains, and highlighting concerns in supply chain management for farmed fish.
    • The Guidance Memo will map out major aquaculture supply chain operations, provide models of large-scale, industrial aquaculture supply chains that detail the most powerful firms, the most engaged nations, which regions / actors benefit the most economically from these relationships, and which nodes in the chain are most difficult to regulate.
  4. Review of current pragmatic approaches to improve management and regulation of supply chains.
    • Private sector and governments have come up with ways to deal with seafood sustainability. But what are their strengths, limitations, and opportunities? The Guidance Memo will review private sector tools and public sector regulations aimed at improving the management and regulation of seafood supply chains, particularly ones pertinent to aquaculture.

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

  • The topics are good fits for a “burning question” that ranks as a top priority (the question: “What are the numbers of fish being farmed globally? What farming systems are used? And how do the global supply chains for farmed fish work? ”)
  • The review and assessment of tools aimed at improving supply chains management and regulation will be of practical use to
  • The provision of easy-to-understand data and information will be of wide interest. Such information is very hard to come by because global aquaculture supply chains are incredibly opaque and complex.

Allison Gray, Tony Weis

Location: Canada
Academic field: Sociology (Gray); Geography (Weis)
Award category: PhD Team

Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period

  1. comparative assessment of meat production and consumption, and the potential impacts of plant-based meat products in six countries (U.S., Germany, Brazil, China, India, Nigeria). The assessment consists of three steps:
    • Analyze the characteristics of each country’s livestock production and consumption over time, including the level of industrialization and the key corporations.
    • Examine the players involved in the development of plant-based meat in each country.
    • Compare the six countries, noting key differences in livestock and plant-based meat production and consumption patterns, and suggesting developments in the plant-based meat arena that can potentially curb the rise in meat consumption and environmental harm.

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

  • These assessments will be very useful for understanding the big global picture. There are very few overviews and comparative analyses of meat production and consumption across countries of different income levels – even in academic studies – let alone in plain language written for laypersons.
  • The issue of plant-based meat is a hot topic right now. A multi-country comparison will be of interest to a range of NGOs promoting it.

Karen Hudlet Vázquez

Location: U.S.
Academic field: Geography
Award category: PhD Student

Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period

  1. A case study: The resistance of the community of Homun against a 49,000-pig farm in the state of Yucatan in Mexico which has now been suspended from operation by the government for over three years.
    • The case will be analyzed to understand the “frames” and “framing” involved – how different stakeholders inform and react to each other and change over time. Stakeholders in this case include: Communities directly affected by the pig farm, consumers, small-scale producers, environmentalists, companies, and government authorities.
    • The purpose of the analysis is to understand: 1. What are these frames (i.e. what are the views of various stakeholders) and how do they interact? 2. Which frames have been more useful than others in garnering media attention to mobilize society against the pig farm? 3. What scientific research, evidence, and knowledge is helpful in supporting certain frames? 4. How have certain frames – especially the use of litigation – been successful in supporting resistance?
  2. The Guidance Memo will also give suggestions on building networks and exchanging information among groups /organizations situated in high-income and low/middle-income countries as well as within a region such as Latin America.

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

  • The case is very much about the “here and now” (not an old case with little relevance for today).
  • NGOs are very interested in actual examples and practical steps of building networks and alliances. The analysis of an actual current case that also includes recommendations on how different groups can share information and cooperate fits the bill perfectly.
  • The applicant writes that there is “no single strategy” to oppose industrial farms or to orchestrate an informed debate about the impact of these facilities, but by learning from others and sharing information, local actors faced with such a farm coming to their neighborhood for the first time have “an opportunity for shortening the learning curve”.

Maria Cristina Yunes

Location: Brazil
Academic field: Agriculture ecosystem
Award category: PhD Holder

Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period

  1. The Guidance Memo will gather, analyze, and present information that address two key questions:
    • Are members in Brazil’s livestock production sector aware of practices related to animal welfare that the public are concerned with?
    • What are the sector’s views and attitudes towards the potential impacts from the use of gene editing technology on the welfare of farm animals in Brazil?
  2. Information will be gathered from livestock farmers, veterinarians and animal scientists working for the industry, extension agents, industry professionals, etc. associated with animal agriculture in Brazil.

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

  • The applicant’s recognition of the need to understand the views of those working in the livestock industry in order to improve the welfare of farm animals and to have constructive discussions among all stakeholders.
  • Gene editing is a fast-developing technology that has the potential to seriously impact industrial farm animal production (for better or worse). It is important to hear from those from the industry about their attitudes towards this new technology’s opportunities, risks, and benefits.

Christian Henderson

Location: The Netherlands
Academic field: Development studies
Award category: PhD Holder

Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period

  1. The Guidance Memo will examine the means through which corporate food systems (including that associated with industrial animal agriculture) became entrenched into three middle-income Arab states: Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco. These key aspects will be examined:
    • Formal institutional incentives (e.g. privitizations, subsidies) and formal arrangements such as trade agreements and various mechanisms of market access.
    • Informal relations that allow market access for agribusiness capital, such as elite social networks of company managers and state officials. (These networks are a distinct characteristic of the corporate food system in the Arab region and they create an alliance of powerful stakeholders that determine national policies over agriculture.)
    • Different capitals that have shaped the Arab agribusiness food system, and how both Western and Gulf investment have played a role in deepening industrial food in the region.
  2. The Guidance Memo will also include “actionable information” and “pressure points” on which NGOs can mobilize.

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

  • Corporate food systems in Arab states are shrouded in mystery, and not that many laypersons understand them. But understand one must if one is to tackle meat corporations involved with that region.
  • “Actionable information” will be valuable to NGOs.