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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 <www.gifteconomy.org.au><br />
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.www.gifteconomy.org.au></p>


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

CodeDescriptionPercentage
050299Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified10
070199Agriculture, Land and Farm Management not elsewhere classified20
160899Sociology not elsewhere classified70

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
29/05/2014 - 20/12/2017Senior LecturerUniversity of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Academic appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
1/01/1973 - 1/11/1988LecturerThe University of New South Wales
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Membership

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
Member - The Australian Sociological AssociationThe Australian Sociological Association (TASA)
Australia

Invitations

External Reviewer - Programs

YearTitle / Rationale
2005Bachelor 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

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

PhD Examiner

YearTitle / Rationale
2002Crystal 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.
2001Advance 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.
1997Dancing 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.
1997Dancing 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)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2009Leahy 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)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2014Leahy 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]
2011Leahy TS, 'The gift economy', Life Without Money, Pluto Press, London 214-234 (2011) [B1]
2010Leahy TS, 'Alternative scenarios: technological optimism or low energy futures', Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society, Routledge, London 280-296 (2010) [B1]
2008Leahy 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]
2007Leahy TS, 'Sociology and the environment', Public Sociology: An Introduction to Australian Society, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest 429-451 (2007) [B2]
2004Leahy TS, 'Food, society and the environment', A sociology of food & nutrition the social appetite, Oxford University Press, Victoria 52-76 (2004) [B1]
1999Leahy 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)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2015Leahy TS, Bowden V, 'Don't Shoot the Messenger: How Business Leaders Get Their Bearings on a Matter of Science', Journal of Sociology, .-. (2015)
DOI10.1177/1440783313518245
2014Leahy 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.

DOI10.1080/09614524.2014.969196
CitationsScopus - 1
2013Leahy TS, 'Facing the Apocalypse: Environmental Crisis and Religion', Religion and Society, 4 182-187 (2013)
2013Leahy 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]
Author URL
2012Alinyo 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]
CitationsScopus - 1
2012Leahy TS, 'The elephant in the room: Human nature and the sociology textbooks', Current Sociology, 60 806-823 (2012) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 1Web of Science - 2
2011Leahy TS, 'Teaching them to fish: Entrepreneurial ideology and rural projects in South Africa', South African Review of Sociology, 42 37-57 (2011) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 2
2010Leahy TS, Bowden VM, Threadgold SR, 'Stumbling towards collapse: Coming to terms with the climate crisis', Environmental Politics, 19 851-868 (2010) [C1]
DOI10.1080/09644016.2010.518676
CitationsScopus - 12Web of Science - 9
Co-authorsSteven Threadgold
2009Leahy TS, 'Ruling class men: Money, sex, power', Journal of Sociology, 45 109-110 (2009) [C3]
DOI10.1177/1440783308099989
2008Leahy TS, 'Discussion of 'global warming and sociology'', Current Sociology, 56 475-484 (2008) [C1]
DOI10.1177/0011392107088240
CitationsScopus - 7Web of Science - 6
2006Zuryani 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]
2006Coates J, Leahy TS, 'Ideology and politics: Essential factors in the path toward sustainability', Electronic Green Journal, (2006) [C1]
2003Leahy TS, 'Nature and Social Theory', Journal of Sociology, 39 195-197 (2003) [C3]
2003Leahy TS, 'Ecofeminist in Theory and Practice: Women's responses to Environmental Issues', Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, 7 106-125 (2003) [C1]
1999Leahy TS, 'Cultural Battles: The Meaning of the Viet Nam - USA War (Review)', Cantrills Filmnotes, 93 - 100 89-90 (1999) [C3]
1998Leahy 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)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2011Leahy 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]
2009Leahy TS, 'Flexible strategies for rural development: Three locations', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference 2009: Book of Abstracts, Cairns, QLD (2009) [E3]
2009Leahy TS, 'Teaching them to fish: Entrepreneurialist approaches to rural development in South Africa', The Future of Sociology, Canberra, ACT (2009) [E1]
2008Leahy TS, 'Checkmate: Why capitalism cannot survive global warming', Re-imagining Sociology, Melbourne, VIC (2008) [E1]
2007Leahy TS, 'Types of agricultural projects in the South Africa', TASA & SAANZ Joint Conference Proceedings, Auckland, New Zealand (2007) [E2]
2004Gow 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]
2004Leahy 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]
2001Leahy 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)

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

Summary

Number of grants8
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 bodyUniversity of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project TeamDoctor Terrence Leahy
SchemeTravel Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start2013
Funding Finish2013
GNoG1301096
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY

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 bodyUniversity of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project TeamDoctor Terrence Leahy
SchemeTravel Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start2009
Funding Finish2009
GNoG0190547
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY

20081 grants / $820

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

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamDoctor Terrence Leahy
SchemeTravel Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start2008
Funding Finish2008
GNoG0189615
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY

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 bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamDoctor Terrence Leahy
SchemeTravel Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start2007
Funding Finish2007
GNoG0188388
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY

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 bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamDoctor Terrence Leahy
SchemeTravel Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start2006
Funding Finish2006
GNoG0186878
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY

20041 grants / $252

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

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamDoctor Terrence Leahy
SchemeTravel Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start2004
Funding Finish2004
GNoG0184983
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY

19961 grants / $533

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

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamDoctor Terrence Leahy
SchemeTravel Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start1996
Funding Finish1996
GNoG0176335
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY

19931 grants / $3,000

The impact of environmental awareness.$3,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamDoctor Terrence Leahy
SchemeNew Staff Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start1993
Funding Finish1993
GNoG0173132
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY
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Research Supervision

Current Supervision

CommencedResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2014When the Urban Forest is Ours: Urban Environmentalism and Youth in Bandung, Indonesia
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2012Consuming 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
2010Risking it for Coal : Hunter Business Leaders Response to Climate Change
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2007Korean Adoptions in Australia
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

YearResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2014The 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
2013Social Connectedness and the Built Environment
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2013Experiences 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
2009Parenthood and Mental Illness: A Sociological Journey Through Silenced Experiences of Illness
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2007Empowerment and Development Initiatives: Two Villages from the European Union Project in North Bali
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2007Implementing 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
2006Are You A Boy or A Girl? Contesting the Uncontested: Intersex and Genders
Sport and Recreation, Faculty of Business and Law
Principal Supervisor
2006Saving the Orangutans and Forests of Kalimantan
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
2005The Soap Opera of Everyday Life: A Political Economy Of Privacy
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2005The Wave of Pictures: A discourse analysis of the Boxing Day Tsunami broadcast
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
2004Environmental Problems and Urban Planning: Three cities of the developing world
Enviro Studies Not Elswr Class, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
2003Out of Time: Women's Unpaid Work
Studies In Human Society, Faculty of Education and Arts
Sole Supervisor
2003Travel 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
2001Experts on their own transitions: young women on becoming adult
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2000Playing With Culture: Young Children's Play and Their Social World
Sociology, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
1997Heart 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

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

Office

RoomW342
BuildingBehavioural Sciences
LocationCallaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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