Platter of cheese and crackers
We're seeking (human) participants for our project on backyard chooks

We’re seeking (human) participants for our project on backyard chooks

The Food Values Research Group are currently seeking participants in a new project which aims to understand why people keep chickens, and document related attitudes to, and associated values with having chickens as part of their lives in urban and peri-urban home settings.

The welfare of chickens in commercial egg and meat production has been an increasing concern for some consumers, and is particularly evident in the increased availability and uptake of free range eggs. There is some indication that such concerns have encouraged some consumers in Australian cities to keep their own chickens and keeping backyard chickens in urban environments has seen a resurgence and is predicted to increase in the near future. However, little is understood about why Australian households in urban environments choose to keep backyard chickens, whether and/or where people seek information about keeping chickens, and whether these practices may be linked to concerns about animal welfare or other issues in commercial production settings.

We are seeking people (over 18) who live in the greater metropolitan area of Adelaide, and who keep backyard chickens, to participate in an interview or focus group about keeping backyard chickens. To register your interest in participating, please contact us at

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dairy cow with horns

By Jared and Corin – Jersey cow, CC BY-SA 2.0,

In the latest episode of ABC Radio National program “Science Friction”, Dr Heather Bray weighs in on the topic of gene editing using new CRISPR-CAS9 technology for livestock animal welfare.

The episode “Making animals happier? Gene editing in the farm yard”, looks at the history of genetic modification and gene editing science and technology, and asks important questions about public values, ethics, and regulation:

Just one genetically modified animal has been approved for human consumption anywhere in the world. A fast growing species of salmon. It took more than 20 years of jumping through regulatory hoops to land on menus in Canada, and soon the USA. From hornless cows to sexing chickens – could new gene editing techniques improve animal welfare? Will they pass the taste test with consumers? And how should they be regulated? Join Science Friction in the farm yard…

Visit the ABC RN website to listen and read more.

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For our final seminar of 2017, the Food Values Research Group is pleased to present:

Understanding the role of self-deception enhancement bias in South Australian consumers’ stated purchase of organic foods

Associate Professor Sarah Wheeler, Centre for Global Food and Resources, University of Adelaide

Dr Sarah WheelerConsumers around the world are increasingly worried about food safety and quality, and their demand for increased credence goods such as certified organic food has driven a significant increase in the production of organic farming in general. Australia is now ranked number one in the world in terms of certified organic farm land (27 million hectares); and the estimated total value of the organic industry in Australia in 2017 was $1.72 billion (and growing). It has been estimated that two out of three Australian consumers have purchased organic products. This study applies structural equation modelling to understand in more detail the influences driving South Australian consumers stated purchase of certified organic produce (n=1000). As well as controlling for the well-known influences of gender, income and environmental attitudes on organic food purchase, this study in particular investigates the influence of two psychological constructs (namely self-deception enhancement (SDE) and impression management (IM)) on organic purchasing behaviour. SDE refers to unconscious, positive, self-defensive, largely adaptive aspects of social desirability; while IM is about a conscious effort to be socially desirable to others. Preliminary results suggest support the hypothesis that there exists a certain level of social desirability (SDE) bias influencing consumers’ stated purchase of organic foods, but no evidence that IM influences organic purchasing behaviour.

Dr Sarah Wheeler is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow with the Centre for Global Food and Resources, University of Adelaide. She is an Associate Editor of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics and an Associate Editor of Water Resources and Economics. She has been a guest editor for a special issue of Agricultural Water Management and is currently on the editorial boards of Economics and Agricultural Science. Sarah is also the Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin working group of the Food, Energy, Environment and Water (FE2W) Network. Previous jobs include working at Rural Solutions South Australia, ESCAP United Nations (Bangkok), Environment Agency (UK), the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies and University of South Australia.

When: Wednesday, 6th of December, 1-2 PM

Where: Napier 205, Napier Building, North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide (click here for campus map)

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For our November seminar, the Food Values Research Group is pleased to present: A Comparative Case Study of Ecovillages from the Permaculture Perspective Dr Jungho Suh, Lecturer in Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide Permaculture takes a systems approach to sustainable human settlements above and beyond organic food production. Likewise, the ecovillage movement places […]

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For our October seminar, the Food Values Research Group is pleased to present: Mens’ Cookbooks in the 20th Century Dr Gerry Groot, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies, Department of Asian Studies, University of Adelaide This presentation discusses the ways that men’s cookbooks in English have been treated in the academic literature to-date, and by noting […]

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For the Food Values Research Group’s September seminar, we present a double header featuring the work of two of our advanced postgraduate students. Each talk takes a very different approach to studying values around meat consumption. Where are the women? Intersectionality as a tool to make peace with my inner feminist when talking about meat, […]

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Prof. Rachel Ankeny recently joined the Knowing Animals podcast to discuss buying free range eggs. The episode focused on her journal article co-authored with Heather Bray. The article is titled ‘Happy Chickens Lay Tastier Eggs: Motivations for Buying Free-range Eggs in Australia’. It was published in the journal Anthrozoos in May 2017. This episode of Knowing Animals is […]

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For our August seminar, the Food Values Research Group is pleased to present: Exploring agrobiodiversity to generate resilience Dr Douglas Bardsley, Senior Lecturer, Geography, Environment & Population, University of Adelaide Diversity within systems provides opportunities for complex adaptative responses to external drivers of change. That is true for agricultural systems where farmers and their associated […]

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We are constantly receiving information on nutrition and food from scientists, government, media, marketers, and our friends and family. But still many of us make poor dietary decisions and fall for diet trends like Paleo, gluten free or superfoods. Does this onslaught of nutrition information (mis)inform our dietary practices? Food Values researcher Dr Jessica Loyer explored […]

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Food Values Research Group convener Professor Rachel Ankeny recently presented a keynote address on animal welfare and consumer attitudes at the Animal Intersections conference (3-5 July) at the University of Adelaide. Her keynote address, “Exploring the Intersections of Consumer and Citizen Attitudes toward Animal Welfare,” discussed the notion of “food citizenship” as a valuable approach to public […]

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