CRPR Seminar Series - Professor Paul Young and Dr Branwyn Poleykett

Decolonising diet: EAT/Lancet and the global promotion of healthy and sustainable eating

A College of Social Sciences and International Studies seminar
Date24 February 2021
PlaceOnline seminar

Please email crpr@exeter.ac.uk to receive a link to join this online seminar

‘In 2019 the influential EAT/Lancet Planetary Diet commission report called for a “Great Food Transformation”:  a planetary transition from our current arrangements of unsustainable and inefficient food production towards a largely plant-based healthy and sustainable global diet. This diet presents opportunities but also challenges in lower and middle income countries (LMICs), where food provisioning is precarious, the double burden of malnutrition is most pronounced, and positive dietary change can be prohibitively expensive. In addition, enduring legacies of colonial rule alongside ongoing world-systemic inequalities mean dietary directives that originate in the Global North are often viewed with suspicion if not outright hostility in the Global South. Beyond the abstractions of recommended food types and relative intakes, therefore, how might planetary diets be realised in practice in LMICs? And how might such practical work disrupt the imperialist North-South power relations that planetary diets are seen to encode?

In this paper we will reflect on how healthy and sustainable diets might be understood, negotiated and co-constructed in Senegal, a country facing multiple food challenges. Drawing on ongoing ethnographic fieldwork, and an interdisciplinary workshop in Dakar, we consider the cultural frameworks and social practices – from cultivation to cooking – through which people imagine, interpret and practically construct sustainable eating futures. Finally we consider how co-created recipes might facilitate conversations about dietary change.’


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