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Dr Terrence Leahy

Senior Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science (Sociology and Anthropology)

Permaculture creating surplus food for Africa

A University of Newcastle sociologist is behind a film documenting a permaculture project in Zimbabwe that has changed lives and boosted food security.

Dr Terry Leahy, and his documentary-making sister, Associate Professor Gillian Leahy of the University of Technology Sydney, travelled to Zimbabwe in 2010 and saw how the use of permaculture changed the degraded landscape into a lush paradise that produces food.

"Where once the 7,000 people of the Chikukwa villages suffered hunger, malnutrition and high rates of disease, this community has turned its fortunes around using permaculture farming techniques," Dr Leahy said.

The Chikukwa Project was started over 20 years ago and through the use of permaculture practices has consistently produced food during that time.

"Now they have a surplus of food and the people in these villages are healthy and proud of their achievements."

"Complementing these strategies for food security, they have built their community strength through locally controlled and initiated programs for permaculture training, conflict resolution, women's empowerment, primary education and HIV management," Dr Leahy said.

Funding for the film was provided by the University of Newcastle, the University of Technology Sydney and the Pozible crowd funding website.

View the 20-minute trailer for the "The Chikukwa Project".

Dr Leahy has undertaken research and consultancy work on environmental attitudes, landcare and sustainability in the Hunter Valley, Australia, as well as in Indonesia and Southern Africa. He says his present research covers three broad topics.

"The first is food security in the context of rural development. The second is the global environmental crisis and the response of the public to environmental politics. The third is social theory, the philosophy of the social sciences and the place of a humanist realist perspective in sociological analysis," Dr Leahy said.

Out of his research in South Africa came a monograph "Permaculture Strategy for the South African Villages" which was published in 2009.

"The book explains a set of tactical approaches to environmental sustainability in regard to land care, local agriculture and food security in the South African villages. People and their meaningful interaction with land is the starting point for strategies and planning principles that address sustainable food and fuel production in villages, to enhance the quality of life for the rural poor," Dr Leahy said.

Dr Leahy will continue his research into food security when he travels to Zambia, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe in 2014. He will visit villages where successful project designs for food security are operating.

"A lot of money has been spent on projects in Africa which have had no lasting impact and the intention of my research is to find out what actually does work and to promote it. The film on the Chikukwa project is a key part of that work as that project has been remarkably successful over a 20 year period," Dr Leahy said.

Permaculture creating surplus food for Africa

A University of Newcastle sociologist is behind a film documenting a permaculture project in Zimbabwe that has changed lives and boosted food security.

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Career Summary

Biography

I have been lecturing in Sociology since 1973, at UNSW till 1988, and following 1990 at the University of Newcastle. My initial research interests were in gender and sexuality. From about 1993, I shifted my research interest to environment and society, working on the political implications of environmental problems such as global warming. I began research in the Hunter in 1995 to consider attitudes of the public to environmental problems and environmental policy, culminating in a survey with the Hunter Valley Research Foundation in 2003. Another area of interest that has developed during this period is project design for food security and sustainable agriculture in developing countries. In relation to this I have researched an EU project for irrigation for poor farmers in Northern Bali with my student Nazrina Zuryani, and projects for rural development and food security in South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Namibia. Out of my research in South Africa came a monograph "Permaculture Strategy for the South African Villages" which was published in 2009. I am at present working on a documentary on the CELUCT project in Zimbabwe. In the last few years I have revived a long standing interest in social theory and am writing a book about the relevance of humanist realism to the social sciences in terms of epistemology, ethics and social analysis. I have also been publishing more on the topic of the global environmental crisis and the political response to that, working with some of my students and colleagues to consider the responses of business leaders and young people in the Hunter to these issues. I maintain a website that has pdfs and web pages for my writings - www.gifteconomy.org.au.

Research Expertise
Dr. Terry Leahy has undertaken research and consultancy work on environmental attitudes, landcare and sustainability in the Hunter Valley, Australia, as well as in Indonesia and Southern Africa. At present his research covers three broad topics. The first is food security in the context of rural development. The second is the global environmental crisis and the response of the public to environmental politics. The third is social theory, the philosophy of the social sciences and the place of a humanist realist perspective in sociological analysis. His most recent monograph is "Permaculture for the South African Villages", a study of project design for food security for South Africa.

Teaching Expertise
Terry Leahy has extensive teaching experience. His current undergraduate teaching includes, "Professional Practices and Key Debates in the Social Sciences", "Media and Society", "Environment and Society". His current postgraduate teaching includes, "Environmental Issues" and "Supervised Reading". He is the convenor of the Master of Social Change and Development Program. He is also coordinating the Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture Stream of the Master of Social Change and Development. He is supervising 6 research postgraduates at the present time and has had 8 successful PhD completions since 2003. Many of Terry Leahy's works are made available to students through his website

Administrative Expertise
Terry Leahy is currently the program convenor for the Master of Social Change and Development and the Discipline Convenor for Sociology and Anthropology.

Collaborations
My primary research collaboration at present is with Steven Threadgold and Vanessa Bowden, but I have also published a number of papers with other authors.


Qualifications

  • PhD, University of New South Wales
  • Master of Arts, Carleton University - Canada
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Sydney

Keywords

  • Environment and Society
  • Food Security
  • Food Security and Development
  • Key debates in the Social Sciences
  • Non Market Socialism
  • Philosophy of the Social Sciences
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • The Environmental Crisis

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified 10
070199 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management not elsewhere classified 20
160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified 70

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/01/1973 - 1/11/1988 Lecturer The University of New South Wales
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Membership

Dates Title Organisation / Department
Member - The Australian Sociological Association The Australian Sociological Association (TASA)
Australia

Invitations

External Reviewer - Programs

Year Title / Rationale
2005 Bachelor of Land Management (Ecological Agriculture)
Organisation: Charles Sturt University (Orange) Description: I was asked to review this program because of my expertise in environmental sociology and my knowledge of issues to do with agriculture and the environment and because I am known to be a very effective teacher of these issues.

Participant

Year Title / Rationale
2007 Research assessment on Greenpower options for University of Newcastle
Organisation: University of Newcastle Council

PhD Examiner

Year Title / Rationale
2002 Crystal Waters: A Permaculture Community
Organisation: Anthropology, University of Sydney Description: I was invited to mark this thesis because of my expertise in sustainable agriculture technologies and understanding of permaculture as a social movement. Also, because of my knowledge of qualitative research methods as used in the thesis.
2001 Advance Australia Queer: New Imaginary Relationships between the mainstream and the marginal
Organisation: Sociology, Latrobe University Description: I was invited to review this because of my expertise in gender studies and in qualitative analysis.
1997 Dancing With Leviathan: Community in the Sydney Anti-Nuclear Warship Movement
Organisation: Sociology, University of New South Wales Description: I was invited to examine this thesis because of my knowledge of social movements and of the study of environmental issues and politics from a sociological perspective.
1997 Dancing With Leviathan: Community in the Sydney Anti-Nuclear Warship Movement
Organisation: Sociology, University of New South Wales Description: I was invited to examine this thesis because of my knowledge of social movements and of the study of environmental issues and politics from a sociological perspective.
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Book (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2009 Leahy TS, Permaculture Strategy for the South African Villages: Towards MDG 7 - Environmental Sustainability, PI Productions Photography for Terry Leahy, Palmwoods, QLD, 228 (2009) [A2]

Chapter (7 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Leahy TS, Goforth M, 'Chikukwa and CELUCT', Sustainable Revolution; Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms and Communities Worldwide, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California 200-205 (2014) [B2]
2011 Leahy TS, 'The gift economy', Life Without Money, Pluto Press, London 214-234 (2011) [B1]
2010 Leahy TS, 'Alternative scenarios: technological optimism or low energy futures', Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society, Routledge, London 280-296 (2010) [B1]
2008 Leahy TS, 'Unsustainable food production: Its social origins and alternatives', A Sociology of Food & Nutrition: The Social Appetite, Oxford University Press, Oxford 58-77 (2008) [B1]
2007 Leahy TS, 'Sociology and the environment', Public Sociology: An Introduction to Australian Society, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest 429-451 (2007) [B2]
2004 Leahy TS, 'Food, society and the environment', A sociology of food & nutrition the social appetite, Oxford University Press, Victoria 52-76 (2004) [B1]
1999 Leahy TS, 'Food and the Environment', A Sociology of Food and Nutrition: The Social Appetite, Oxford University Press, 253 Normanby Road, South Melbourne, Victoria, Ausralia 3205 34-53 (1999) [B1]
Show 4 more chapters

Journal article (16 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Leahy TS, Bowden V, 'Don't Shoot the Messenger: How Business Leaders Get Their Bearings on a Matter of Science', Journal of Sociology, .-. (2015)
DOI 10.1177/1440783313518245
2014 Leahy T, Goforth M, 'Best practice for rural food security projects in Southern Africa?', Development in Practice, 24 933-947 (2014) [C1]

It has been widely believed that commercialisation is the solution to food insecurity in rural Africa. Project designs have attempted to set up agricultural cooperatives and encou... [more]

It has been widely believed that commercialisation is the solution to food insecurity in rural Africa. Project designs have attempted to set up agricultural cooperatives and encourage entrepreneurial farmers. Yet the problems revealed in the 1950s are still widespread. In a counter-perspective, some have argued for the relevance of subsistence and low-input agriculture. This article examines three NGO projects in South and South-eastern Africa which prioritise food security through household subsistence, using low-input technologies, along with an encouragement to produce a surplus for cash. We look at what these projects share and why their strategies work.

DOI 10.1080/09614524.2014.969196
Citations Scopus - 1
2013 Leahy TS, 'Facing the Apocalypse: Environmental Crisis and Religion', Religion and Society, 4 182-187 (2013)
2013 Leahy T, 'The Perils of Consumption and the Gift Economy as the Solution Daniel Miller's Consumption and Its Consequences', Electronic Green Journal, 1 1-12 (2013) [C1]
2012 Alinyo F, Leahy TS, 'Designing food security projects: Kapchorwa and Bukwo, Uganda', Conception de projets de securite alimentaire: Kapchorwa et Bukwo, Ouganda, 22 334-346 (2012) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 1
2012 Leahy TS, 'The elephant in the room: Human nature and the sociology textbooks', Current Sociology, 60 806-823 (2012) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 2
2011 Leahy TS, 'Teaching them to fish: Entrepreneurial ideology and rural projects in South Africa', South African Review of Sociology, 42 37-57 (2011) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 2
2010 Leahy TS, Bowden VM, Threadgold SR, 'Stumbling towards collapse: Coming to terms with the climate crisis', Environmental Politics, 19 851-868 (2010) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/09644016.2010.518676
Citations Scopus - 12Web of Science - 9
Co-authors Steven Threadgold
2009 Leahy TS, 'Ruling class men: Money, sex, power', Journal of Sociology, 45 109-110 (2009) [C3]
DOI 10.1177/1440783308099989
2008 Leahy TS, 'Discussion of 'global warming and sociology'', Current Sociology, 56 475-484 (2008) [C1]
DOI 10.1177/0011392107088240
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 6
2006 Zuryani N, Leahy TS, 'Structural impediments to the empowerment of women within organisations in northern Bali', Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, 40 113-142 (2006) [C1]
2006 Coates J, Leahy TS, 'Ideology and politics: Essential factors in the path toward sustainability', Electronic Green Journal, (2006) [C1]
2003 Leahy TS, 'Nature and Social Theory', Journal of Sociology, 39 195-197 (2003) [C3]
2003 Leahy TS, 'Ecofeminist in Theory and Practice: Women's responses to Environmental Issues', Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, 7 106-125 (2003) [C1]
1999 Leahy TS, 'Cultural Battles: The Meaning of the Viet Nam - USA War (Review)', Cantrills Filmnotes, 93 - 100 89-90 (1999) [C3]
1998 Leahy TS, 'The Politics of Environment in Southeast Asia: Resources and Resistance (Review)', RIMA, 32, No. 2 259-261 (1998) [C3]
Show 13 more journal articles

Conference (8 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2011 Leahy TS, 'An elephant in the room: Human nature and the sociology textbooks', Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Conference: Local Lives/Global Networks, Newcastle, NSW (2011) [E3]
2009 Leahy TS, 'Flexible strategies for rural development: Three locations', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference 2009: Book of Abstracts, Cairns, QLD (2009) [E3]
2009 Leahy TS, 'Teaching them to fish: Entrepreneurialist approaches to rural development in South Africa', The Future of Sociology, Canberra, ACT (2009) [E1]
2008 Leahy TS, 'Checkmate: Why capitalism cannot survive global warming', Re-imagining Sociology, Melbourne, VIC (2008) [E1]
2007 Leahy TS, 'Types of agricultural projects in the South Africa', TASA & SAANZ Joint Conference Proceedings, Auckland, New Zealand (2007) [E2]
2004 Gow JF, Leahy TS, 'Nesters and happy workers: An exploration of contradictory environmental values amongst the 'battlers'', TASA Conference 2004: Revisioning Institutions: Change in the 21st Century: Conference Handbook and Program, Beechworth, VIC (2004) [E3]
2004 Leahy TS, Zuryani N, 'Environmental sustainability and an EU irrigation project', TASA Conference 2004: Revisioning Institutions: Change in the 21st Century: Conference Handbook and Program, Beechworth, VIC (2004) [E3]
2001 Leahy TS, 'Market Forces, Globalisation and Agriculture - the example of Sulawesi', Proceedings of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA), University of Sydney (2001) [E1]
Show 5 more conferences

Creative Work (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Leahy TS, Leahy GA, The Chikukwa Project, CUBA IPC11 Permaculture Convergence (2014) [J1]
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 8
Total funding $8,877

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20131 grants / $1,500

International Permaculture Convergence, Havana Cuba, 24 November to 5 December 2013$1,500

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project Team Doctor Terrence Leahy
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2013
GNo G1301096
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20091 grants / $1,000

Institute of Australian Geographers; Cairns; 28 September - 8 October 2009$1,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project Team Doctor Terrence Leahy
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2009
Funding Finish 2009
GNo G0190547
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20081 grants / $820

Re - Imagining Sociology, University of Melbourne, 2/12/2008 - 5/12/2008$820

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Terrence Leahy
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2008
GNo G0189615
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20071 grants / $873

TASA and SAANZ Joint Conference, The University of Auckland, 3/12/2007 - 9/12/2007$873

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Terrence Leahy
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2007
Funding Finish 2007
GNo G0188388
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20061 grants / $899

Sociology for a Mobile World (TASA), Humanities & Soc Sci. Murdoch University WA, 4 - 7 December 2006$899

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Terrence Leahy
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2006
Funding Finish 2006
GNo G0186878
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20041 grants / $252

The Australian Sociological Association annual conference, 8-11 December 2004$252

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Terrence Leahy
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2004
Funding Finish 2004
GNo G0184983
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

19961 grants / $533

Asia Pacific Regional Conference of Sociology - Philippines - 28-31/5/96$533

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Terrence Leahy
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 1996
Funding Finish 1996
GNo G0176335
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

19931 grants / $3,000

The impact of environmental awareness.$3,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Terrence Leahy
Scheme New Staff Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 1993
Funding Finish 1993
GNo G0173132
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed18
Current4

Current Supervision

Commenced Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2014 When the Urban Forest is Ours: Urban Environmentalism and Youth in Bandung, Indonesia
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2012 Consuming the 'Other' to Heal the Self: Seeking Indigenous Amazonian Plant Medicine Ritual to Heal Western Maladies
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2010 Risking it for Coal : Hunter Business Leaders Response to Climate Change
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2007 Korean Adoptions in Australia
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2014 The Gallic Wars: A Reassessment of Caesar's Interpretation of Gallic Leadership and Military Response to Rome
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2013 Social Connectedness and the Built Environment
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2013 Experiences of the 1996-2006 Civil Conflict in Nepal: Narratives of Engagement of Tamangs (Indigenous People) and Buhan-Chhetris (Non-Indigenous People)
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2010 (Re)Embodying Identity: Understanding Belonging, 'Difference' and Transnational Adoption Through the Lived Experiences of Korean Adoptees
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2009 Parenthood and Mental Illness: A Sociological Journey Through Silenced Experiences of Illness
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2007 Empowerment and Development Initiatives: Two Villages from the European Union Project in North Bali
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2007 Implementing Water Sensitive Urban Design: The Context of Changing Urban Stormwater Technologies in Australia
Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment
Co-Supervisor
2006 'Anti-Gay' Violence, Criminal Justice and Victimhood in New South Wales
Philosophy, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2006 Are You A Boy or A Girl? Contesting the Uncontested: Intersex and Genders
Sport and Recreation, Faculty of Business and Law
Principal Supervisor
2006 Saving the Orangutans and Forests of Kalimantan
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
2005 The Soap Opera of Everyday Life: A Political Economy Of Privacy
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2005 The Wave of Pictures: A discourse analysis of the Boxing Day Tsunami broadcast
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
2004 Environmental Problems and Urban Planning: Three cities of the developing world
Enviro Studies Not Elswr Class, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
2003 Out of Time: Women's Unpaid Work
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2003 Travel Talk: When Knowledge and Practice Collide. Tracking gendered discourses in popular texts; in the stories of contemporary Australian women who work in the travel industry; and women who begin international leisure travel in mid-life
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2001 Experts on their own transitions: young women on becoming adult
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2000 Playing With Culture: Young Children's Play and Their Social World
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
1997 Heart Health Promotion in A Respectable Community
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
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Dr Terrence Leahy

Position

Senior Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

Sociology and Anthropology

Contact Details

Email terry.leahy@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 6106
Fax (02) 4921 6902

Office

Room W342
Building Behavioural Sciences
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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