Behind hungry children are hungry parents. We know that typically parents feed their children before they feed themselves in the UK. We also know that households that are most likely to be food insecure tend to live in areas where others are also struggling. While enough money to purchase food is important, it isn’t enough. We need solutions that address the immediate need but also solutions that work toward a longer term, socially just resilience.
I was recently invited to participate in a webinar on children’s food insecurity. It was attended by more than 300 people from across industry, policy, community, health, and academic sectors. It was organised by Bernadette Moore and Charlotte Evans of the N8 Food Systems Policy Hub.
I am part of a project with a group of women who are thinking through our research methods and how they can help create change. This has been a really useful exercise for me, as my methods are often so intertwined with my research that taking them apart can be difficult. I’ve created a short video where I talk through my approach. This was part of a Festival of Social Sciences Methods for change event held by Manchester University and Aspect. The event was not recorded, but I am making my short presentation available here.
One of the questions that I frequently get from local food networks and local authorities is “how do we map what already exists in our community?” Organisations also ask how what they do maps onto the food ladders approach. These are questions that I have been exploring recently, as in theory it seems straight forward, but in practice it can be much more difficult. To this end I have developed a workshop on how to map food activity in communities onto the Food Ladders framework. It takes a blended learning approach, starting with self-directed online learning, followed by a group activity that involves discussing and agreeing how activity maps onto the ladders within individual organisations. There is also a form tool that can be adapted for collecting the relevant data needed for this mapping. While the examples in this workshop are third sector organisations, any form of activity can be mapped onto the ladders.
Last week I participated in a webinar for a group of people who are concerned about healthy and sustainable food. The podcast focused on food insecurity. Participants in the webinar included Barbara Bray, Mark Driscoll and Jacqui Green, who have founded the group, as well as Tom Amery, MD of The Watercress Company and Ben Thomas, Environment Manager from Waitrose & Partners, and me.
You can watch the facebook live recording of the webinar below, but it was also broadcast live on Linked In and will be available from the Beanstalk Global web page soon. There is a bit of natter at the start of the broadcast which is not really related to the webinar, which starts at about 2 minutes in.
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.