Published 13 July 2017
We are happy to welcome SEI’s new research assistant D’Arcy Roche to the Sydney Environment Institute family. D’Arcy will examine participatory food systems planning and economic development to address food insecurity in Sydney.
Take a moment to get to know D’Arcy.
What project are you working on?
I’m working as a research assistant on a collaboration between the Sydney Environment Institute and City of Sydney to address food insecurity in the City. The project aims to involve citizens in participatory food systems planning, and we hope to work with the city and other partners to develop a food hub and incubator as a means to address the systemic causes of food insecurity.
What made you interested in working on this project?
Food insecurity is a complex problem – it has multiple causes and it’s experienced differently by everyone. This means that there’s no one solution to it either; food security interventions need to address multiple factors at once. Complex problems demand a different kind of thinking that we’re only just beginning to appreciate. It’s challenging, but it’s also what keeps it interesting.
You are currently studying a Master of Urban and Regional Planning – what made you interested in urban planning?
Urban planning is a unique field in that it tries to incorporate a huge diversity of knowledge into one decision-making practice. The tension – and sometimes conflict – between these perspectives makes it a highly contested space, but this is also what makes it so engaging.
What environmental issues are you passionate about addressing through your studies and/or day to day life?
Doing research involving food, I’m passionate about understanding the food that we eat as an environmental quality, much like the air that we breathe. I think that food is an obvious site to collapse human-non-human distinctions and to start to think of human and planetary health in similar terms, as part of common social-ecological systems.
What are your interests/hobbies outside of the environment?
You’ll find me swimming or rowing most mornings at the crack of dawn. I take ballet classes every now and then, and I play classical piano too. Recently I’ve started trying to grow some of my own food and make some of my own clothes as well – although in both cases with admittedly more optimism than skill.