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The purpose of this paper is to present the findings from two recent reviews on food aid use in the UK and discuss their implications and the challenges they posed for…
The purpose of this paper is to present the findings from two recent reviews on food aid use in the UK and discuss their implications and the challenges they posed for researchers, policy makers and the voluntary and community sector.
The paper draws on two research reviews conducted in 2013 and 2014.
Whilst it is possible to draw important insights into key drivers of food aid use, how food aid is draw on by recipients and some of the perceived outcomes of the provision from the research that is available, ultimately the reviews highlight the emergent and largely unsystematic nature of the UK evidence base. The lack of agreed definitions and measures of food insecurity/food poverty further limits the knowledge base. Even where such evidence may be forthcoming, in terms of implementing effective solutions to the need for food aid, UK researchers, policy makers, NGOs and others face considerable challenges in terms of identifying responsibilities for addressing the causes of this need, which the most effective scale for response may be (local or national) and finally, overcoming a highly complex and not necessarily co-ordinated policy framework.
The paper provides a critical overview of the state of knowledge on food aid in the UK.
The proliferation of homelessness and housing precariousness, along with a dramatic growth in food banks, are two signs that while parts of the UK economy may be…
The proliferation of homelessness and housing precariousness, along with a dramatic growth in food banks, are two signs that while parts of the UK economy may be recovering from the 2008 financial crisis and recession, the same cannot be said for the living conditions of much of the poor and working class population. Much of the media discussion has centered on the ways in which these social ills have been caused by government policy, particularly cuts to social and welfare services introduced under the banner of “austerity.” I argue in this paper, however, that a narrow focus on austerity risks obscuring some of the longer-term structural transformations that have taken place under neoliberal capitalism, namely: (1) financialization and (2) the privatization of social reproduction. Situating these two trends within a longer history of capitalism, I argue, allows us to understand the contemporary housing and food crises as specific (and highly gendered) manifestations of a more fundamental contradiction between capital accumulation and progressive and sustainable forms of social reproduction. Doing so further helps to locate the dramatic proliferation of household debt, which has been supported by both processes, as both cause and consequence of the crisis in social reproduction faced by many UK households.
Drawing on an ethnographic research study, developed in three different food assistance initiatives (FAIs) operating in Portugal, this article seeks to explore the…
Drawing on an ethnographic research study, developed in three different food assistance initiatives (FAIs) operating in Portugal, this article seeks to explore the elements that characterize them and the main organizational challenges they face.
Participant observation was carried out in a surplus food redistribution charity, a soup kitchen and a social supermarket, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with supervisors of these FAIs. The study followed an inductive coding strategy, and a thematic analysis was developed.
The main results point to an appreciation of the initiatives and the role they play, but they also highlight the existence of several challenges, mainly related to: 1) difficulties in accessing sources of funding, 2) the absence of an intervening state and 3) a scarcity of resources that allow a thorough assessment of their activities and services provided, which weakens the public image of these responses.
The development of food assistance in Europe has a long history. Over the past few years, this sector has grown significantly. Nowadays, it is possible to identify several realities around emergency food provision. However, this heterogeneity has not been sufficiently explored in the literature. In addition, there are few studies that report on the variety of initiatives that coexist in Portugal and establish a comparison between them. The current paper intends to overcome this gap by seeking to understand the main models of food assistance operating in the country.