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

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

We need to talk about hunger

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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.  And I also know I am lucky to be able to be so potentially wasteful. 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?

Continue reading

Whither the light?

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The hour just after sunrise and the one again before sunset are the Golden Hours according to photography wisdom.  They are golden because the light is apparently softer and the shadows are fewer… or something. These technical aspects of photography are not really my thing, I must confess.  I do know that the weather can influence the colours of sunrise and sunset. I also know that while the visual effects are beautiful, the physical effects of the weather can be catastrophic for those affected by it, and often those most affected are the poor. Continue reading

Seeing below

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Hong Kong is a city of views. Upon arriving in Hong Kong one is assaulted with the image of the famous skyline. This commanding perspective offers a view of the top both literally and figuratively, if we also consider that much of that skyline represents the global circulation of things and money.  Populated with 294 buildings over 150m tall (35-40 floors), and 2,354 buildings over 100m tall (New York only has 794), the city handily wins as being the place with the most opportunity to look down from above. But what do you see when you look down? Continue reading