Coffee Hour with Antoinette WinklerPrins: Global Urban Agriculture: Convergence of Theory and Practice between North and South

Friday, March 24, 2017 - 3:30pm
Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m. The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.

urban garden

Working in an urban garden. Image by USDA.

As part of her visit to Penn State, Antoinette WinklerPrins is also conducting a workshop on applying for Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) awards from the National Science Foundation. This workshop is open to all graduate students at Penn State.

About the talk

Urban agriculture (UA) is the practice of cultivating in cities and other non-rural places, an activity that is increasing as the world becomes more urbanized. The topic has seen growing attention as a topic of investigation by academics and practitioners, but research and writing about UA has often been partitioned between that which is practiced in the Global North (GN) and how it is practiced in the Global South (GS). The focus in the GS has typically been on the role of UA in providing food security and limited employment for the (newly) urban poor. Investigations of UA in the GN have focused on issues of social justice and community empowerment as well as grass-roots and countercultural actions, including a focus on relocalizing food sources. UA in the GN and GS are rarely treated together or in a comparative manner, yet in practice their foci are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish with deindustrialization in the GN necessitating UA to become a survival tool and growing wealth in the GS permitting UA activities to be treated as supplemental. Theory and practice are converging and the time has come for the topic of UA to be treated at a global level, experiences from the GN and GS merging and informing each other. This presentation will address the global convergence of UA, illustrating the bridges and connections that overcome the divide between the GS and GN, and will suggest future trends.

About the speaker

Antoinette WinklerPrinsAntoinette WinklerPrins grew up living in many places around the world, the daughter of a Dutch diplomat. She received her B.A. in (urban) geography in 1983 from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Urban Planning (M.U.P.) with an emphasis on international development in 1985 from the same university. After a number of years outside the academy she pursued and then completed a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999, working under the supervision of Karl Zimmerer, and with a minor in soil science. She went on to complete a post-doc in soil science at ITC-Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (now the part of University of Twente) in Enschede, The Netherlands. After her post-doc Antoinette spent ten years on the faculty of Michigan State University’s Department of Geography, five of these as their Graduate Program Coordinator. While there she was also affiliated faculty in their Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Center for Gender in Global Context, the Center for the Advanced Study of International Development, and the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program. From 2010-2013 she spent three years as a rotating Program Officer in the Geography and Spatial Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation, then spent three years as Director for Environmental Programs at Johns Hopkins University, in their Washington DC Center, managing a set of master’s degrees in environmental sciences and GIS. In the summer of 2016 she returned to the National Science Foundation as a permanent Program Officer in the Geography and Spatial Sciences Program. WinklerPrins is a people-environment geographer specializing in nature-society relations, with an emphasis on cultural landscapes and environmental knowledge systems. She has investigated how people have and continue to transform their landscapes as they adapt and adjust to changing socio-economic and environmental circumstances, especially in the Brazilian Amazon, but also in Kenya and Mexico. Specifically she uses cultural, political and historical ecology frameworks and primarily qualitative methods to understand smallholder landscape transformations in both rural and urban settings. Her published research includes work on agriculture and soils along the Amazon floodplain, homegardens and the circulation of plant material, and Amazonian Dark Earths. She has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and recently completed an edited a book on urban agriculture for CABI international. Her research has been funded by the American Philosophical Society, the Association of American Geographers, the Association of University Women, Michigan State University, the National Geographic Society, and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Contact us

Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Angela Rogers in advance of your participation or visit.

Angela Rogers  office: 814-865-2493 email:

Coffee Hour