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

Invitation: Event to remember the Gatumba Massacre 12 Aug 2017

I am forwarding this on behalf of a friend who is part of this community. All are welcome and it should prove to be an interesting event. You may remember the film hotel Rwanda? The Banyamulenge are largely Tutsi. This event is not to commemorate the events of the film, but another event resulting is mass, targeted deaths of the group in Burundi.   Please feel free to share.
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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

Good Food: Feeding Affordance, Decent Helpings, and Community Resilience

This post is a video of a talk that I am going to give next week.  Please excuse the unevenness of the audio–I am learning how to add audio files to video.   I would really welcome questions, constructive comments, and positive affirmation.  :-).

 

Mapping residuals can help identify communities that are resilient: Feeding Affordance and Decent Helpings

 

Why SURPLUS food is important for feeding vulnerable people

There have been a number of arguments in the press and on social media arguing that the use of surplus food to feed food insecure people is at best only a short-term solution and at worst harmful (e.g., Caraher 2017).  I would agree that the hunger that is caused by poverty is not only not being addressed by the UK government (see Blake 2015, and a more recent update of the article published by GMPA) but in some cases is being enhanced by current government policy (e.g., a benefits system that has built in delays, draconian sanctions, programme cuts that impact on the most vulnerable). In reading the argument, however, a number of issues stand out as needing further clarification and interrogation.  Firstly, there is a lack of understanding about food surplus in terms of what it is.  Secondly, there is misconception about how food surplus becomes food for bellies as it travels through the charity sector. Thirdly, there is an overly narrow understanding of the value of surplus food both for charities and those whom they support. These issues are explored in this blog post. Continue reading