Important dates


2018 marks the 25th year anniversary of the AFRN. Over this time, the members of the network have pursued the vision of its founders: to promote innovative research and encourage rich debate on agri-food issues, both in Australasia and globally. Consistently, our work – through 24 annual conferences and countless publications – has focused on analyzing the complexities of agri-food system restructuring in terms of global contexts (of internationalization, globalization, capitalism, neoliberalism and industrialization) and local social, environmental and economic impacts and consequences (related to rurality, sustainability, governance and culture, for example). Over the years, our conferences have contributed to new ways of thinking about agriculture (land use change, NRM, new technologies, conservation), distribution (supply and commodity chains, trade), consumption (health and nutrition, values and ethics) and food ‘cultures’ across time and space. We have sought to understand the ‘mainstream’ food system - supermarkets, banks, brands, commodity chains, technology transfer, free trade and food security policy – alongside ‘alternatives’ such as organics, sustainability metrics, conservation techniques, urban and local food movements, fair trade and food sovereignty. Our work has brought a diverse range of theoretical perspectives to international attention, and we have provided a rich and valuable empirical base with which to inform research, policy and action. The result has been, and continues to be, research that frequently questions conventional wisdom or dominant policy approaches, and points towards alternatives.

The 2018 conference will be a celebration of the rich contributions that the network has made to agri-food studies over the past 25 years. It will also be an opportunity to reflect on how this legacy can inform agri-food research, policy and activism now and into the future. With this goal in mind, academic paper sessions, posters, panel discussions and interactive roundtables will address the challenge of how we might explore, apply and expand agri-food theories, approaches and findings in order to renew progress towards multi-dimensional sustainability and well-being for all.

Do you have a new book to launch at the 2018 conference? If so, please contact ASAP.


Keynote Speakers

Prof. Phil McMichael (Professor of Development Sociology, Cornell)

Phil McMichael is one of the world’s foremost political economy scholars of agrarian change, globalization, capitalism and food movements, and has been a long time AFRN member and participant. Food regimes analysis has been one of the most influential and highly debated perspectives to inform a world-historical approach to agri-food studies since its inception by Friedmann and McMichael in 1989. In his keynote address, Phil will reflect on the historical and contemporary relevance of the food regimes concept and consider its continued application to understanding current contestations around food security, food sovereignty and food politics reform. We are very pleased to have Phil join us again for the AFRN’s 25th anniversary.

Shalmali Guttal (Executive Director, Focus on the Global South)

Focus on the Global South (Focus) is an Asian research, advocacy and networking organisation with offices in Bangkok, New Delhi and Manilla that aims to challenge neoliberalism, militarism and corporate globalization, while strengthening just and equitable peoples’ alternatives. Focus has been the driving force behind the concept of deglobalisation as a systemic challenge and alternative to neoliberalism and global capitalism.

Shalmali has worked with Focus since 1997, and has researched and written on economic development, trade and investment, and ecological and social justice issues in Asia - especially the Mekong region and India - with emphasis on the commons, and peoples' and women's rights to resources. In her keynote, Shalmali will present her recent work responding to what she sees to be the most pressing challenges to embedding human rights into food system governance in the Global South, including questions of land development financing, the commons and small-scale food production.

As part of their attendance at this conference, Phil and Shalmali will also be presenting a public lecture in collaboration with the Brisbane Fair Food Alliance and the UQ Human Rights Colloquium, on Wednesday 5th December, 6.30pm. This will be held at Griffith University Southbank campus. Please note: Attendance at this event requires you to register. However if you have already registered for Agri-food XXV and selected YES to the public lecture, you do not need to register again via the Eventbrite link on the flyer; this is only for external attendees.

Program Outline

Preliminary programme: Available now

Friday 30 November - Saturday 01 December Postgraduate conference and field trip
Sunday, 02 December Conference field trip and welcome drinks
Monday, 03 December Conference Day 1 and trivia night
Tuesday, 04 December Conference Day 2 and dinner
Wednesday, 05 December Conference Day 3 and public lecture (evening)


  • Dedicated postgraduate workshop hosted by the UQ Global Change Institute.
  • Student-led panel and poster sessions
  • North-South dialogue facilitated through online presence and networking
  • Keynote presentations from Prof. Phil McMichael and Shalmali Guttal
  • Expert panel discussions on Highlights of the AFRN: 25 yrs of insight and impact and Agri-food in the Anthropocene: future challenges for research, policy and advocacy
  • Participation from academics, policy makers, social movement advocates, government and industry
  • Close the Loop, field trip
  • Annual David Burch prize for best student paper, and of course, the Agri-bagri awards!



    The University of Queensland, St Lucia campus, QLD