Seminar on “Bridging Food Commons and Planning” by Caner Murat Doğançayır

Emerging trends regarding the food supply for urban consumers trigger growing interest of research and policy in urban and regional planning agenda. Alternative food networks (AFN) in this sense became a far-reaching research strand and policy based tool to cope with emerging trends of food supply. Inclusion of AFN concept and practice in spatial planning theory and practice needs a reconceptualization of urban-rural interactions, basically new socio-spatial relations between food producers and consumers. In this regard, food production-consumption relations (alternative food networks), consumer’s practices and attitudes (prosumerism), new assemblages of food communities (short food supply chains) is considered as our framework. So, alliances between citizens and farmers, will be in our scope to relate the theory and practice. We aim to (i) better understand food production-consumption relations (AFNs) and changing consumer’s practices and attitudes (prosumerism) as new movements of food consumers, (ii) analyze connections between farmer organizations and food communities and and (iii) elaborate urban-rural interactions as the capacity for regional rural development. Depending on these objectives I will explore the emerging local AFN initiatives in Istanbul Metropolitan Region and struggles to maintain short food supply chain between producers in rural regions and urban consumers. I will be presenting the empirical results of a qualitative survey on consumer cooperatives practice, expectations and objectives according to our observations and interviews. Considering dimensions as embeddedness, territoriality and governance arrangements, we will be presenting current strengths these initiatives have been developed until now and possible pathways to lead to local food policy in regional scale.