Masterclass: Just Transition in Food and Agriculture ■ S+T+ARTS Hungry Ecocities

March 11, 2024

On March 4th, the HUNGRY ECOCITIES project had the pleasure of getting a masterclass from Jeffrey David Turk on Just Transition to inform the Humanizing Technology Experiments. This discussion was geared towards the projects Council of Food and Food Dysmorphia since they both explore the labour conditions in their frameworks. 

The following topics were discussed:

■ The Just Transition scope, ambitions and challenges
■ Importance of Social and Collaborative Dialogue
■ Role of Trade unions and international labour organisations.
Fair work in the supply chain
■ Just Transition case example: Sibeg in Sicily

Just transition

The Just Transition concept from the ILO as an actively pursued EU policy priority addresses inequalities, supports climate ambition, drives the shift from fossil fuels to renewables, and is based on participatory processes. It is a key part of the Social Green Deal project in which Jeff participates. The collective goal in the Just Transition is to cultivate a resilient, sustainable food system that supports all communities and ecosystems.

It is also closely aligned with the goals set in Hungry EcoCitites “ to contribute to a more healthy, sustainable, responsible, and affordable agri-food system for all enabled by AI” and therefore, we had this interesting knowledge – and practice sharing masterclass to get insight in how the Just Transition prioritizes the needs of workers in agriculture and food production, small farmers, and rural communities.

The principles of the Just Transition are: 

Equity and Inclusivity:
Ensuring all stakeholders have a voice in the transition process. 
Prioritizing long-term environmental health and resource efficiency. 
Worker Protection:
Safeguarding rights, jobs, and providing training for new opportunities. 
Social Dialogue:
Facilitating open communication between workers, employers, and governments. 
Innovation and Adaptation:
Embracing new technologies and practices for a sustainable future. 

Council of Food and Food Dysmorphia

Above Humanizing Technology Experiments encourage stakeholder engagement through social dialogue, active engagement, and creating awareness, which can be used as a tool also for the less-heard voices to shape inclusive and effective transition strategies. The experiments explore how to balance equity and inclusivity – Ensuring all stakeholders have a voice in the transition process. The artistic experiments can support the lack of voice for abused or neglected “workers” and bring attention to certain topics that are paramount in today’s system, alongside the focus on the issues of tomorrow, which both impact the food value chain. 

About the lecturer:

Jeffrey David Turk is a Research Fellow at the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, but is currently located at the Centre for Sociological Research, KU Leuven, where he specializes in realist research methods in the social sciences with a focus on European policy studies. On behalf of Leuven.AI, he is one of the core-team members in the Humanizing Technology Experiment Council of Food.

The Hungry EcoCities project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement 101069990.