Friday 5. April 2019

Do you know where the fish on your plate comes from?

We often forget to ask ourselves, “Where is the food that ends up on my plate coming from?” However, with increased awareness of the impacts that the transport and production of food on an industrial scale has on the environment, more and more people are starting to ask that question and look for innovative solutions as well as local alternatives to reduce the impact of their own consumption pattern. 

Jennifer Grace Smith, a 2014 graduate of the Coastal and Marine Management program at UW, conducted a study on the implications of Local Food Networks (LFNs) in the Westfjords of Iceland for her master´s project.

Local Food Network in the Westfjords of Iceland

Local Food Network (LFN) studies seek to analyze and strengthen knowledge about the “local food” movement, a movement in which consumers seek local sources of food consumption for a variety of social, political, environmental and reasons. Her thesis aimed to determine the ways in which local networks for fish are already in existence in Westfjords fishing communities and the benefits that could result from expanded retail access to local fish. Her results suggest that consumer prefer fish landed or processed in close proximity, although industry regulations and politics are geared toward satisfying preferences of the international market.

Thesis subject wowen into daily life

Jennifer has lived in Ísafjörður since she began her studies at the University Center of the Westfjords. She has also woven her personal life into her masters thesis as she and her partner run the local fish shop, Sjávarfang, providing the people of Ísafjörður, as well as nearby towns, with fresh fish daily.

Jennifer’s advisor for the project, Dr. Catherine Chambers, is now the academic director of the University Centre’s master program in Coastal and Marine Management and acting director of the Coastal Communities and Regional Development program. Jennifer and Catherine published their work in 2015 titled, "Where are all the fish?", in the peer reviewed journal Environment, Space, Place.

The paper Where are all the fish? Local Fish Networks in the Westfjords of Iceland is accessible here. Jennifer´s full thesis can be accessed on Skemman.

Open course on food systems taught in May

The new master´s program in Coastal Communities and Regional Development offers many exciting courses. Among them is the 2-week elective course in May on “Coastal Food Systems” which explores the socio-cultural and ecological complexity of food production, distribution, and consumption. The course is taught by Dr. Kristen Lowitt, Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography and Environment at Brandon University, Canada.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

For further information about the "Coastal Food Systems" open course follow this link.


Jennifer Grace Smith conducted a study on the implications of Local Food Networks in the Westfjords of Iceland.
Jennifer Grace Smith conducted a study on the implications of Local Food Networks in the Westfjords of Iceland.
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