Periodic Reporting for period 2 - COMFECTION (Communication for Food Protection)
Reporting period: 2020-01-08 to 2021-01-07
The project “Communication for Food Protection” (COMFECTION) filled this gap by addressing some of the most urgent issues concerning food protection and its communication: (i) the genetic modification of foods and the risks and benefits associated with their consumption; (ii) organic farming techniques and principles, as opposed to the use of synthetic pesticides, vaccines, hormones, etc.; (iii) the risks and benefits associated with the consumption of meat or the abstention from the use of animal products; (iv) the recent spread of grain-free movements.
Implemented by means of a unique combination of theoretical and methodological approaches, and thanks to the collaboration of an experienced researcher, Simona Stano, and the support of two top-class academic institutions—New York University (US) and the University of Turin (Italy)—, the action allowed identifying effective tools for opposing food myths and promote food protection through communication. Moreover, it fostered both academic research and public engagement on crucial issues currently involving contemporary societies, as related to food and the domain of digital communication."
On the theoretical level, special attention was devoted to crucial issues emerged during the research: the link between food and culture; the mythical discourse (in ancient times vs. in contemporary digitalised cultures) and the analysis of ideology; the “post-truth” society and digital communication; conspiracy theories; the concept of Nature and its textualisation; ""(post-)gastromania"" and food politics.
The main findings of the research were disseminated through the organisation of two international conferences (""Food for Thought: Nourishment, Culture, Meaning"", hosted by New York University, and ""Foodologies: Nourishment, Language, Communication"", hosted by the University of Turin), and active participation in several other symposia, congresses and academic lectures (in the US, Italy, Argentina, Peru, Bulgaria, Poland, China, Cyprus and Romania), as well as by means of academic publications (including various peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, two books of abstracts, edited volumes and a monograph—which have already been released or are in press). Furthermore, the results were communicated to society at large through a number of activities of public engagement (e.g. participation in the European Researchers’ Night 2019 and 2020, public presentations, infodays, activities with students, etc.) and media communication (project website, Facebook page “Communication for Food Protection”, interviews, articles, and publicity materials). Finally, consistent efforts were devoted to networking (between the involved institutions, and with other universities and non-academic entities and research consortia) and career development, as well as to providing scientists and stakeholders with effective communicative tools and guidelines to oppose misinformation and foster food protection."
As a result, we released a number of varied scientific publications and academic events of international relevance, as well as articles, interviews and publicity materials addressed to society at large. Specific efforts were also devoted to the involvement and training of primary and secondary school students and teachers, as well as of food and health professionals and stakeholders. Finally, several communication activities were implemented to further increase public awareness on the research topics, ensuring accessibility to the project results and their wide circulation within the academic field and beyond it."