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
If you look through the door of my pantry you will see a window into my world. My pantry expresses my likes and dislikes and my cultural background by the presence and absence of certain goods. You will also see that in my house, we are not hungry. I have been hungry in the past. I plan against this by stocking up for the possibility that there might come a day when I might not have money. It isn’t an entirely rational approach to domestic food provisioning as it is a practice that produces waste. But, I always know where my next meal is coming from. My household budget is shaped by my past experience of hunger. I am sure I am not alone, but for some reason hunger is not a fashionable term these days. What is that all about?