From obecity to food democracy: transition toward sustainability

In the framework of the 8th World Environmental Education Congress -WEEC (Gothemburg, 29 June -2 July 2015) the Unesco Chair for Sustainable Development and Management of Territory organizes the workshop

From obecity to food democracy: transition toward sustainability

In the last 100 years the balance between fat as a resource and fat as a waste product has become disrupted. In urban metabolism model “obecity” is the processes through which fat travels through bodies, infrastructures, and cities and settles unevenly. People living in city environments - where healthy food is hard to find, health care is poor, junk food is easy to hand, the weather discourages exercise, pollution rates are high and long commutes steal exercise time - are more likely to be fat. Researches show close interconnections between strategies for slimming down bodies, infrastructures, and the city as a whole: strategies which involve different visions of the problem and solutions which are not necessarily mutually exclusive. If obecity, fat city, food desert, food racism and food waste are the negative aspects of the matter, food democracy, food sovereignty and food citizenship represent possible solutions.

To tackle and reduce obecity it is necessary moving beyond the limiting notions of food as commodity, people as consumers, and society as marketplace. Food democracy is about citizens who actively participate in shaping the food system, by building sustainable food systems that protects thieir natural environment, sustains farmers, nourishes families; guaranting the right to a nutritious and sufficient diet for all; determining agro-food policies and practices locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Food, like no other commodity, allows for a political reawakening.


This workshop intends to provide an opportunity for Unesco Chairs worldwide, operating in fields related to environmental sustainability and sustainable development and addressing issue as food desert, food racism, food waste, food citizenship, sustainable agro food system and network, to connect to each others. The workshop aims to bring together the state of the art research and thinking in these areas, proving insight that may contribute to a better understanding of these questions and more effective action and policies to cope with.


Each participant will contribute from unique perspettive and background, reflecting on approaches and methods, presenting researches and projects.


Best practices to tackle and reduce food disease, food desert, and food discrimination will be identified. Meanwhile policies to enhance food rights and providing concrete example of a deliberate attempt to develop practice of food democracy will be investigated.


Papers are solicited on the following points:

  • Food racism,
  • Food desert,
  • Food diseases,
  • Environmental food impact,
  • Urban consumption,
  • Food metabolism,
  • Food democracy,
  • Food soveregneity.

 Visit the conferenc web site


Keywords: Food citizenship, Food democracy, Food desert, Food racism, Obecity

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UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Development and Territory management
University of Torino


  • Via Po, 18
  • 10124 Torino, Italia


  • phone: +39 011 670 2733
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