Marlene Gómez


Host Institute

Freie Universität Berlin

Marlene Gomez photo Topic The politics of food in community kitchens: The cases of Berlin and Barcelona


Gülay Caglar

Secondment 1 Wageningen University


Chizu Sato

Secondment 2 University of Passau


Martina Padmanbhan





Marlene Gómez holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in Geography, both granted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (NAUM). She is interested in topics such as decolonial and postcolonial studies, space and gender, and solidarity economy. She has focused her research on the study of peasant and indigenous communities in Mexico that seek to build an alternative way of life based on gender equality, good living and decommodification of nature. She has worked as a fellow researcher at the Institute of Economic Research of the NAUM and as a professor assistant at the faculty of Political Science of the NAUM.

Objectives of the research

Food scandals, environmental degradation and debates about genetically modified organisms have prompted a surge of interest in issues of food safety, sustainability, biodiversity and, thus, in realising localised food systems in Europe. There have been many initiatives that create new food practices in order to improve community livelihoods such as urban community gardening initiatives in urban areas throughout Europe. The ESR will focus on the particularly vivid community gardening scene in the cities of Berlin, Germany and Barcelona, Spain run by migrant communities from the Middle East and North Africa in marginalised neighbourhoods. These gardens are not only considered as spaces of ecological interaction and food justice, but also as sites of inclusion and empowerment. The ESR will examine how community food security is realised through every day practices of shaping and changing local food systems as they engage in politics of food, practices of food preparation, communal eating and social provisioning. The study will look at how community gardening has the potential to produce a sense of belonging and social inclusion and to empower inhabitants from marginalised neighbourhoods. It will look at these practices as sound and economically viable livelihoods that are creating new forms of “food citizenship” and how gender relations and practices of social reproduction are renegotiated in these communities.

Expected Results

Studies in Berlin and Barcelona will look at gardening projects by migrants from the Middle East and North Africa in order to understand how these community gardens are spaces of change and forms of counter hegemonic democratic processes in which different actors and diverse communities are involved and that produce alternative visions of food security, socio-economic stability and sustainability.

Progress update

Marlene Gómez Becerra joined the department of Gender & Diversity of the Freie Universität Berlin where she started her PhD on “The Politics of Food in Southern Europe” under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Gülay Çağlar in September 2018. In February 2019, she joined the Brighton training lab along with the rest of WEGOers where she got feedback and insight from other PhDs and Supervisors to polish the objectives of the research. Once the project was more in progress, she presented it in the “Day of the Political Science Faculty” as a speaker and in the format of a poster in May 2019 at Freie Universität Berlin. She carried out in Barcelona the first “observation fieldwork” to identify possible community kitchens for the research in May 2019. The fieldwork was a watershed in the research that allowed her to have more clarity about the scope of the investigation and the involvement that the communities could have in it. From September 2018 to April 2019 she took part in the training seminar (Post) growth society: feminist and post-colonial perspectives (part I and II) at Freie Universität Berlin in charge of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Gülay Çağlar. This seminar allowed her to prepare the methodological chapter of the research and go in-depth with the academic literature on Feminist Political Ecology and DE-growth. In July 2019, she joined along with the WEGO network, the ECPG conference in the city of Amsterdam where she presented the paper “Urban Food Commoning: A Theoretical Debate”. In October 2019 she presented the progress of her project at the conference “The Great Transformation: On the Future of Modern Societies” in the city of Jena, Germany where she had the chance to network with international and national scholars that are also involved in the topic and research of the politics of food. She is currently doing her secondment online at the University of Wageningen under the supervision of Chizu Sato and taking part in the Foodscape cluster of The Centre for Space, Place and Society at Wageningen University.

Marlene has progressed writing her literature review, introduction (which includes the theoretical background and the methodological approach of her research project) and the first and second chapters. She dedicated 2020 to the writing of three papers that were sent for revision to the following peer reviewed journals:
1. Journal of Studies in Social Justice with the paper: “Managing food waste as a solidarity economy process,”
2. Journal Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society with the paper: “Social movements and the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms,”
3. Journal Frontiers with the paper “Care in times of COVId-19.”

Publications by Marlene Gomez




Blogs by Marlene Gomez

Decolonial Feminism and Feminist Political Ecology

Decolonial Feminism and Feminist Political Ecology

Marlene Gómez presented the theme: "Decolonial Feminism and Feminist Political Ecology" in the seminar "Philosophy and Science" of the Earth ...

Feminist communitarian organization in times of femicides. Insights from the second international encounter of women who fight

From the 26th to the 29th of December 2019, the “Segundo encuentro internacional de mujeres que luchan” (Second International Encounter ...

‘Finding my way in research’: reflections from an early stage researcher

Well, it turns out that it has been a year since we started this wonderful, but at the same time ...

Alternative food initiatives in Berlin and Barcelona

I feel more and more comfortable presenting my Ph.D. project in public. I remember that at the beginning of the ...

Podcast by Marlene Gomez