Yesterday a report highlighting the presence of food deserts in the UK commissioned by Kelloggs was released to the media. I supported the report as I feel the issue is important. Continue reading
Tag Archives: poverty
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
Networks, public engagement and the Environment Hearing, Fabian Commission on food and poverty
I am increasingly interested in the ways in which various forms of public engagement can help facilitate change in our food systems. Certainly these forms of interaction throw up surprises both in terms of critical topical insights, but also in the ways they recalibrate what I understand as being accepted knowledge.
My most recent effort at engagement is to host a hearing for the Fabian Society for a commission on Food and Poverty, which will take place on 27 January 2015. The aim of the commission is to influence government action on the topic of food poverty in the UK. My aim, is linked, but also to continue to create critical buzz and to further momentum around the work that is being done both in research but also the public sphere on the important topic of food poverty and to strengthen and extend the connectivities within the network of interested parties within the region.
Within Sheffield and indeed the larger Yorkshire region, there is a critical mass of parties interested and working toward a better food system. This includes public sector actors, voluntary organisations, researchers and private citizens. What has become clear to me over the last year is the lack of connectivity within this network of actors. People know each other as little network clusters, but linking into and being able to visualise the whole of that network is still very difficult to realise. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I do know that providing repeated opportunities for people within this network to interact is not a waste of time, as I see with each event new connections being made between those within the group, which in turn produces new possibilities for innovative collaboration.
It is also clear to me that at some point the critical action occurring at the local scale, must inform and interact politics and action at the national and international scales. While the specificities and sometimes the agendas will vary from place to place, there is a need for the development of case studies that demonstrate and elaborate good practice. These case studies then need to be communicated widely in order for the innovations inherent within each case to diffuse to other networks and places.
If you would like to attend the hearing, it is on 27/1/2015. Tickets are available here.
There will also be further blog posts and a storify from the event. I will post the links as they become available. We will be using the following hashtags for the event if you want to follow on Twitter. #foodandpoverty #FeedingBritain
UPDATE: Please see the storify here, which includes videos of the main speakers.
We need to talk about hunger
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?
Whither the light?
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
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