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2017 April 12

April 12, 2017

Spring Colloquium 4/17/17

Monday, April 17 || 12-1pm in 714 PLC

Nathan McClintock
Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning
Portland State University 

Talk Title: Cultivating sustainability capital: Urban agriculture and eco-gentrification in Portland and Vancouver

Abstract: For many activists and scholars throughout the Global North, urban agriculture (UA) is central to food justice struggles. As new gardens crop up at a furious pace, however, critics from within and outside academia have begun to question who UA serves, raising the alarm about UA’s contribution to gentrification and displacement. Drawing on an ongoing mixed-methods study of UA in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia, I illustrate how capitalist valorization of UA occurs unevenly, mediated by land rent, municipal policy, race, class, and the growing predominance of an eco-habitus. Gardens ultimately become sustainability capital in a spatially and temporally variegated manner, undergirding a “sustainability fix” and related processes of eco-gentrification at city- and neighborhood-scales. At the same time, some UA activists are now linking their efforts to broader struggles for social justice; in some cases, their concerns over equity are actually filtering into municipal food and sustainability policies in new and potentially transformative ways.

Bio: Nathan McClintock is a geographer and an assistant professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. His research focuses on food justice and urban political ecology with a particular interest in the origins of contemporary urban agriculture movements, obstacles to food access, and the possibilities of scaling up food production in the city. His work has appeared in a wide variety of scholarly outlets, including Cultivating Food Justice (Alkon and Agyeman, eds., 2011 MIT Press); Geoforum; Urban Geography; Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development; and Landscape and Urban Planning. Additional information about Dr. McClintock’s work can be found here: