Are we framing this right?… Food Poverty or Everyday Food Insecurity

While Food Poverty is a popular term within the food charity sector in the UK, is it really what you want to be doing? Is it, in fact, everyday food insecurity that you seek to support?  Continue reading

Feeding Affordances and Decent Helpings. (Nearly) Final Report

I’ve just about finished the final report for the Feeding Affordances  project I did with Doncaster Council last year.  As a result, Doncaster is setting itself up as a sustainable food city  and is already doing fantastic things with its third sector organisations in its communities.  I am constantly awed by what people do to support each other.

I’ve uploaded the (nearly) final report from the project onto my academia.edu account if you are interested in reading it.  I welcome feedback on the content.  I would also really like to know if it gets used and helps to inform action or policy at local levels.  For either of these, or if you are struggling to download a copy, leave a message and I will get back to you.

Here is the synopsis of the report:

There is an emerging context of social support withdrawal as a result of funding withdrawal by central government is creating a context within which individuals, households and communities are having to increasingly seek support from third-sector organisations in the UK. This is happening through:

  • ⇒  The introduction and eventual rollout of Universal Credit are likely to contribute further to these inequalities, but there also may be opportunities for improving diets.
  • ⇒  A squeeze on the abilities of local authorities to support their communities as local authority remits have expanded to include addressing diet-related public health and public health inequalities, which include health inequalities that arise out of food poverty. Local authorities will also become responsible for supporting the way in which individuals and families will have to cope with the transition to Universal Credit. At the same time, as local authority remits are expanding they are facing draconian cuts to their budgets such that there are staff reductions resulting in cuts to the capacity of the LA to deliver programmes.
  • ⇒  There has been a rise in community and third-sector organisations who are concerned with helping to reduce health inequalities by helping to reduce food poverty.Given the importance that resilience is playing in helping local authorities to resolve the gaps that austerity is creating, it is clear that more research is needed that examines the dimensions of resilience (adapting, coping, transforming). Specifically with regard to how:
  • ⇒  Activities within these three areas can contributing to different scales of resilience (individual, household, community, and local authority area);
  • ⇒  How collectively activities within an area contribute to a landscape of resilience enabling support.A more collaborative approach may enable local authorities to better work with these third-sector organisations to best realise the possibilities that partnership could provide. Recommendations for more collaborative working are detailed in this report and are based on community-based research, participant observation, consultation with community organisations and local authorities, and the outcomes of a co-production workshop.

    This research was funded by ESRC IAA award number R/145185

Doncaster Food Partnership

Over the last year I’ve been conducting research with Doncaster Public Health to help them understand how to move beyond interventions that target people and try to nudge them into changing their behaviour.  My work has focused on trying to understand how context shapes what people can and cannot do. This post highlights some of the findings from the research and makes some suggestions about how councils can support communities to be more resilient food landscapes. Continue reading

Food Deserts and Unjust Foodscapes

This blog post draws from a forthcoming chapter I have written for The Routledge Handbook of Landscape and Food that is edited by Josh Zeunert and Tim Waterman.  The book will be published early in 2018.  I am drawing on a section that focuses on the food desert concept in order to show how the standard interventions aiming to address food deserts does little to reconfigure the institutional forces that give rise to unjust foodscapes in the first instance.  The excerpt closes by identifying some of the ways that food justice activists are tyring to address the problems.  The full chapter is available here to download.  Continue reading

Building an Unjust Foodscape: Shifting Governance Regimes, Urban Place Making and the Making of Chinese Food as Ordinary in Hong Kong

This is the text from my recently published peer-reviewed paper in the journal Local Environment.  The paper will be part of a special issue on Food Justice edited by Agatha Herman and Mike Goodwin in the future. The e-paper is available, but behind a paywall until May 2018. I am making the text available here as per the copyright agreement, but for correct referencing please see:  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13549839.2017.1328674

DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2017.1328674

Megan Blake ORCID http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8487-8202 Continue reading