Welcome to Food for Change
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
The competitive environment in violence prevention and peacebuilding industries, together with the business model of the academy, often work against specialists freely sharing ideas and methods to effectively prevent violence as such capacities have become commodified. Consequently, actors and institutions ill-equipped to implement certain ideas often implement them as a means of survival and other ideas remain under a tight lid so as to avoid invertedly undercutting one’s own ability to generate income or advance professionally from their ideas. Food for Change actively seeks to work against these counterproductive industry trends by continuously presenting myriad ideas to the readership for further exploration and potentially, implementation. In other words, we share ideas here for anyone to utilize and implement. Accordingly, the name “Food for Change”, which plays on the proverbial “food for thought”, refers to authors presenting ideas that encourage serious reflection and action by the readership to advance peace-inducing personal, communal, and societal transformation. But how will such ideas be shared and discussed here?
From an optimistic standpoint, scientific research is an indispensable and beneficial tool to eradicate violence and manage conflict peaceably. It helps us analyze and better understand our environments, interrogate our assumptions, and learn about whether our interpretations of various phenomena are subjective or shared. It grounds our thinking in empirical evidence and consequently helps us develop theories and practical strategies to increase our quality of life in ways that navigate reality. Humanity’s collective learning process continues to be uniquely enriched by diverse research methods, technological advancements in research tools, and the brilliant analyses theorists generate across contexts and disciplines. In relation to violence prevention, scientific research helps to embed in empirical evidence our claims about violence and our approaches to addressing its causes and varied effects on humanity and the environment.
However, research in the practical realm, which is often called “applied research” is primarily meant to better understand a specific problem or puzzle that must be accounted for in some way for effective practice. But such issues are predominately related to existing or prospective initiatives because pracitioners have limited time to explore ideas unrelated to the work in front of them as many are also navigating the politics and/or bureaucracy of donor-driven praxis. In the theoretical realm, though one has more time and conceptual space for innovation, the dominant approach to generating and disseminating theory places different limitations on the analyst. More specifically, in addition to meeting various requirements of “sound” academic research such as having rich empirical data (i.e., evidence), critical analyses that account for major counterarguments, and making an original contribution, theorists are often expected to contribute to an ongoing debate in their respective field(s). Though this approach to knowledge production is irreplaceably valuable, it is also true that such parameters in the theoretical realm can limit public access to ideas that stem from just allowing specialists’ minds to create and analyze without such restrictions.
Food for Change is meant to provide more space to explore any facet of violence prevention without the confines of industry trends and standards that place limitations on how one produces and shares ideas as a specialist. This does not mean that the blogs posted on this platform will not make use of theory or empirical evidence as either could help to enrich analysis and innovation. But instead, the ideas explored here are not necessarily framed as “relevant” because of their importance in contemporary practice or extant theoretical debates. Thus, contributors are welcome to draw on their personal and professional experiences to produce ideas that plant seeds for changing how we think and take action to eradicate violence in its countless forms.
With utmost love and sincerity,
To make a submission to Food for Change please contact Saghar (Sara) Birjandian at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.