Francesca Castagnetti

Visiting Scholar; Gastronomic Ethnobotany, Spiritual Ecology

Francesca joined the CBCD as a visiting training fellow in 2017-18, while doing a MPhil in Indigenous Studies from the University of Tromsø.

Her interests encompass gastronomic diversity, food sovereignty, spiritual landscapes and soundscapes. Recently she joined a research project funded by the Firebird Foundation, aimed at recording the sacred oral literature of a community in the Kailash Sacred Landscape of far-western Nepal. Here she has been documenting traditional ecological knowledge through home garden surveys and participatory plant collection in the community forests, while simultaneously recording the local ecological and spiritual soundscapes.

Francesca is an alumna of the University of Edinburgh where she focused on South Asian religions and eco-philosophy, and she conducted research about Sacred Natural Sites and place-based spirituality in the Western Alps in her home community, under the mentorship of Professor Michael Northcott.

While at the University of Tromsø she completed a participatory research project on food sovereignty and land grabbing in Madagascar with Slow Food’ s 10.000 gardens in Africa project, funded by a grant from the Centre for Sami Studies for research on Indigenous issues.

She also trained in Soundscape Studies and field recording at Goldsmiths University. During an internship with the London-based Gaia Foundation she contributed to a report to be presented to the African Commission on Human and Peoples‘ Rights on legal precedents of Sacred Natural Sites protection in Africa, her focus being on case studies from Madagascar.

In her free time Francesca is dedicated to a long-term personal project documenting Biocultural diversity generated by British artisan cheese makers following the revitalisation of this craft in the 80s, as well as transhumance-reliant cheese traditions in the Italian Alps. Upon availability of funding the outcomes of this project will include a podcast series and a multimedia publication.