Imogen Bellwood-Howard, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow

Georg-August  University Göttingen
Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology
Theaterstr. 15
D-37073 Göttingen

Office: Herzberger Landstr. 2
Room: 204
+49 551 39-2068

Office hours by appointment.

Personal homepage


Imogen’s PhD and MSc in Geography at King’s College London followed training in Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia and Louisiana State University. Her research interests span theoretical and practical situations outside her main interest of African agriculture. Other research positions have been in the Smart Communities and Home Energy Use projects at Kingston University’s Behaviour and Practice Research group and on the Industry Food Waste Audit Proposal research project for the advocacy group This is Rubbish. More recently, she was a fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research at the University for Development Studies in northern Ghana.

Research Interests

Imogen is interested in sustainable food systems, with a particular emphasis on agricultural production in West Africa. Her previous projects in the Northern Ghanaian Savanna have focused on organic soil fertility management, donkey traction, innovation adoption, group ownership mechanisms and fertilizer credit, within the current policy context of the African Green Revolution. She uses an interdisciplinary approach, involving a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methodologies and has delved into creative methodologies, producing films with the Ghanaian Anzansi movie cooperative.

Research Activities

Imogen is currently investigating urban food systems in West Africa within the UrbanFoodPlus anthropology project. UrbanFoodPlus will use qualitative, quantitative and participatory approaches to investigate links between farmer practice and technology adoption in Ghana and Burkina Faso. The anthropology subproject will draw upon Science and Technology studies and Political Ecology, focusing on how identity and practice are linked and changed in the dynamic environment of contemporary African agriculture. Taking an agroecological systems approach, Imogen’s personal interest within the project is on the inputs and markets associated with traditional and exotic, commercial and semi-subsistence vegetable crops.


2014 Smallholder perspectives on soil fertility management and markets in the African green revolution.

2013 Compost adoption in Northern Ghana: low financial and physical capital prevents farmers from transporting compost to their farms.

2013 Counting what Matters: a report on the feasibility of introducing mandatory food waste audits in the UK, for the Community Interest Company This is Rubbish.

2012 Donkeys and bicycles: Farmers used donkey carts as one of a range of tools to overcome the problem of compost carriage.

2012 Reflections on teaching and learning in Ghana and the UK: Farmers’ participatory learning was translated into a series of workshops in UK sixth form.

Conference Papers

CHARM home energy study qualitative analysis: Research summary for the 2013 CHARM conference, The British Academy, London, 27th Feb 2013

Sustainable agricultural development in the African Green Revolution: the importance of farmers’ context-specific environmental knowledge: Address given as a panellist at the Sustainable Agricultural Development Panel of the 3rd Oxford University Africa Society Pan-African Conference: ‘Towards a 21st Century African Renaissance: Sowing the seeds of success’ in May 2013

Credit groups and sustainable Soil Fertility Management in Northern Ghana: A paper given at the 2013 Association of American Geographers meeting, Los Angeles, April 2013

Research and dissemination methods for non-literate contexts: Describes practical visual methods.

Access systems to sustainable compost transport in savanna smallholdings: Won a prize at the 2012 International Sustainable Development Research Society Annual Conference, pp.36 and 38-41 in the 2012 ISDRS Newsletter.