Graduate Student Forum

Theorizing Social Inclusion of Immigrants and Persons with Disabilities through Urban/Peri-urban Agriculture: Implications from Canada and Japan

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 | 12:15 - 13:00 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • Akane Bessho Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
  • Kenneth McElwain Professor, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo

Stated as the underlining keyword of the Sustainable Development Goals, “social inclusion” has been increasingly recognized as a significant indicator for building socially just and sustainable cities today. While the definition and scope of social inclusion widely vary across nations, the concept emphasizes active participation of various marginalized populations into various arenas of society. Among them, there are two key groups that face multiple barriers for inclusion, particularly in workspace: immigrants and persons with disabilities. While the two groups traditionally were studied under separate disciplines, both are often positioned as permanent “recipients” of services and welfare by the receiving society, despite their skills and interests. In order to foster an inclusive society, there is an urgent need to develop spaces that ensure opportunities for individuals to play roles not only as “recipients,” but ones to contribute and support other members of the society.

In this study, we focus on urban/peri-urban agriculture as potential space for social inclusion of immigrants and persons with disabilities. For the first part of the presentation, she will discuss a multiethnic community farm in Toronto, Canada as a case study to explore the process of immigrants’ “role shift.” For the second part, she will present preliminary findings of the nationwide survey on organizations engaging in agricultural activities with persons with disabilities, identifying their motivations, scales, and current challenges.