Baltic Summer School of Anthropology 2022: Global-to-Local Food chains: Food Sovereignty and Climate Change

Duration of the project

01.06.2022. - 15.10.2022.

Countries and institutions involved in the project

Stradiņš University Riga
Latvian Association of Anthropologists
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg
Vytautas Magnus University
University of Tartu

Project manager

Dr. André Thiemann

Achieved aim(s) of the project

The event (Thu 25.8. until Su 28.8.) has hosted 28 B.A., M.A. and PhD students who attended seminars, participated in small group-fieldwork with different actors in the food chain like scientists, producers, processors and traders from Cesis, and presented their individual and group research. We have strengthened the participants’ practical knowledge and strategic thinking about the nexus between climate crisis and food sovereignty, bringing together students and scholars from the Baltics, Czech Republic, Germany, Europe and beyond (students of social anthropology and related disciplines) for networking. We have initiated a future ERASMUS plus exchange between MLU and RSU.

Main activities of the project and venue(s) where the project activities were carried out

Activities took place in Rucka Art Residency Cesis, Latvia, and in different anthropological fieldwork locations around Cesis (Fri 26.8. 13.00 – 16.00):

  1. Pluriversity: A permaculture garden in Rucka park housing a university/classroom in the open
  2. Vides Risinajumu instituts (Institute for Environmental Solutions): A food research institute that has opened a medicinal herb museum in the city center.
  3. Our urban food walkshop: from farmers’ market to local supermarket SOLO
  4. Cesu Maize & Smilga Café: two bakeries
  5. Laba Saknes: A fruit-and-veggie snack production
  6. Trimpus: A Craft Brewery

Main activities included:

  • 2 keynotes (one public), 5 lectures, 1 panel discussion;
  • Student fieldwork with 6 lecturers/facilitators on 26.8., preparation of group presentations on 28.8. in accordance with the main topic of the summer school;
  • Presentation by 3 student researchers on “Community fridges as DIY infrastructure: food and care in New Orleans” (Ignas Vyšniauskas, Kaunas);
  • “Adaptation and Climate Change: How the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem Adapted to Harsh Environmental Conditions” (Lucya Passiatore, Tallinn); “Animal Welfare Labelling in the EU: legal requirement from a posthuman perspective” (Hanna Kłosińska, Warsaw);
  • Informal gatherings and networking at the end of each day (including a film screening and an excursion to the MALA street festival);
  • A networking slot for the researchers and lecturers on 27.8.

Reached target group and number of persons involved

Direct: Over 40 students and lecturers from a total of 11 countries) attended the conference. In addition, relevant food producers, political decision-makers and NGO representatives from Cesis took part in the student field work as interlocutors (approx. 20 people).

Indirect: Subscribers to the Latvian Association of Social Anthropologists mailing list (~350 people) and followers on Facebook (~1100 people), as well as people who follow the BSSA Facebook page (~1100 people) or view reports on the RSU homepage, especially people in Latvia and the Baltics who are interested in activities and topics of anthropology; 2) other social scientists and students interested in issues related to food chains; 3) policy makers and NGO representatives (~20 people); several local participants, some of whom are considering studying anthropology in the future.