In the spring and summer of 2020 I interviewed some of Sheffield’s local food businesses to see how they coped in lockdown. What I found was agility and inventiveness and collaboration, but also care for the food that is provided, for the people who eat that food, and for the local place. What is clear from these interviews, when taken together, is that in emergency situations we need a local supply chain with people working in the food sector that are embedded in the community if we are going to strengthen and build resilience.
In this post I share the video interviews with Our Cow Molly, a local dairy producer, Food Works a social enterprise that works with surplus food, and Regather Coop.
You can find all three video interviews on the University of Sheffield Institute for Sustainable Food here.
This summer I spoke at a webinar with Marsha Smith and Sharon Noonan-Gunning also presenting. The webinars were hosted by a group of people who are joining together to make a network of places and groups who are joining together to promote social eating in their communities. I spoke about my Food Ladders work. The whole series is available on this page https://www.nationalfoodservice.uk/lecture-videos but for ease, I have copied in the one where I am speaking below.
In this post I provide an elaboration of the Food Ladders framework. This elaboration provides greater detail in terms of how to identify activity and where it sits on the the ladders. There are three ladders in the Food Ladders approach: 1. Food access and nutritional value, 2. Social, and 3. Economic.
This webinar features a food surplus project targeting moderately food insecure people living in Manchester, UK. The webinar also includes a representative from the Local Council talking about how they are using my Food Ladders framework to plot a pathway forward to build more community resilience. The third speaker is someone from Morrisons talking about how they are able to supply TBBT with food and their response to COVID.
I am the final speaker. I discuss my research about food insecurity, foodscapes and provide evidence of how community food projects help release social value from surplus food.
We are testing a new scheme which offers every household weekly vouchers for fresh fruit and vegetables (value £5) plus vegetable based recipes and nutritional information. All households are eligible regardless of size, type or income. Vouchers are redeemable with local independent suppliers of fresh fruit and vegetables (not supermarkets) and vouchers can be shared with others.
Our study will test the impact of this scheme (Fresh Street) on the quality of people’s diets and their health. We will also study the impact of this scheme on local economies, the environment, and local food systems.
PDF of the slides. Please feel free to share widely. We are interested particularly in finding partners. The grant funding this project pays for the research, but not the voucher delivery or the cost of the vouchers. If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact Clare Relton (email@example.com) or Megan Blake (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The coronavirus pandemic has revealed just how much we depend on easy access to food. The beginning of the UK’s lockdown saw the closure of restaurants and pubs, and empty supermarket shelves. The number of people who are struggling to access food because of financial difficulties has dramatically swelled. Amid this turmoil, there has been an incredible response from the social, public and commercial sectors to provide food to people in need. But we need government to support their efforts. Continue reading →