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

Five food problems that people in the US, Europe and China could work on together


There is no doubt that food is a big issue and something that has exploded in the public consciousness in the Global West. Cities now have food strategies aimed at improving access to healthy food and there are moral panics, and maybe real panics, over the production of obesogenic environments that contribute to rises in diabetes, bowl cancer and heart disease and are largely considered to be caused by a food system that is supermarketized. Then there are the food scares and food scandals from BSE to Horse meat that plague Europe. At the same time, discussions regarding China’s food problems regularly pop up in the news; be they the problem of zoonotic diseases that threaten to turn into global pandemics, anxiety over how China will feed itself, distress over how China is taking over American food producers (e.g., Smithfield) to satisfy its own meat desire just as China’s products are invading American supermarket shelves, or assertions about the lack of integrity of Chinese food producers. What strikes me is that instead of constructing an Orientalist discourse around food issues of the west and the rest, West and East might come together to learn from each other and seek solutions. Here are just five food related problems that I think would benefit from just such a joined up approach.

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