MEATigation: Towards sustainable meat-use in Norwegian food practices for climate mitigation

MEATigation is a four-year collaboration project, running from the spring of 2020 to the spring of 2024. The project joins academics and industry, funded under a call for climate research, by the Research Council of Norway (KLIMAFORSK).

Our starting point in this project is to consider food, and meat specifically, as not just calories, or carbon-emissions, but as CULTURE.

The theoretical frame we use in our research is a mix of applied ethics, principle-based thinking and social practice theory. We are exploring whether social practices, like eating meat, or providing meat, can be guided or transformed by following some ethical/practical principles, what we call the 3Rs for sustainable meat use:  R1 RECOGNISING the people and animals working to produce meat, R2 REPLACING animal-based meat with plant-based, insect-based or in-vitro alternatives, and R3 REFINING the use of meat to match needs versus wants, reduce waste and malnutrition.

Our aim is to explore how meat is founded in Norwegian food practices, and how to shake existing routines towards a more sustainable direction. We will do so through empirical work including qualitative interviews and photo-diaries with selected households in urban and rural areas near Oslo and Trondheim (WP2: Eating meat), ethnographic, observational studies with farmers and their animals (WP3: Providing meat), and by performing experiments and interventions together with households, farmers and artist, to see if/how to transform ideas and practices around meat in Norway, along the 3Rs (WP4).

Among our planned outputs are a Norwegian cookbook for climate-strained times, upcycling post-WWII meat reduction recipes, an exhibition held at Trondheim Kunstmuseum, and a farmers-and-animals march, inspired by the French festival Transhumance… So stay tuned for more!