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
IMD as a predictor of children’s overweight status in Doncaster communities where there were more than 75 children measured.
Data for this analysis was provided in anonymised form from Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council Public Health, who was the collaborator on this research application.
The aim of this research is twofold. Firstly to consider the predictors of rates of children who are overweight and obese at community level and to determine if there are contextual factors that contribute to these rates. Secondly, the research aimed to identify communities that were performing better than would be expected so that a qualitative case study could be undertaken to try to see what might be supporting their resilience.
On Friday, 8 May 2015 I awoke to discover that not only were we not looking forward to a new coalition government in the UK, but that the overall collapse of the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party has given the Conservative government a mandate in UK politics. While I, at an individual level, am likely to see some benefits from the strong neoliberalism that underpins this government’s ideology, I am concerned by the implications of this for the country more generally and particularly the nation’s poor. Indeed, I see a further deepening of the division between those who have and those who have not. As I will elaborate, this will mean the continued exponential growth in the numbers of people requiring emergency food assistance and increased numbers of children and elderly with inadequate food supply, which will also translate into higher rates of obesity, diet rated illness and malnutrition. These trends as they are situated within the current climate of neoliberal austerity will also mean that we, if we are to continue as a nation with social values (as opposed to only economic values) must find ways of filling the gap, not just for families but also for our communities. Continue reading
Tonight, for dinner, I made a family favorite: a modified version of “Proper blokes’ sausage fusilli”. My version is an adaptation of a recipe in Jamie Oliver’s “Cook with Jamie“, which he wrote to help people “learn to cook properly and enjoy it (back cover).” I originally purchased the book (cost $16.99–though I think I might have gotten it for less at Cosco) to give to my son so he could feel confident in a kitchen. This dish is the one thing he has ventured from the book, though I have made many other things from it with good results. The book was written about the time that Jamie Oliver was beginning to try to have a food revolution in the UK, certainly before he really started talking to people who might consider themselves “ordinary folk”. As a result, the food, despite the ordinary and everyday language of the book and the best intentions of the author, is really not sympathetic to the economic needs of those “ordinary folk”. Continue reading