“I know you would do the same for me”

I’m now six months into my role with Food Ethics Council and it has absolutely flown by. My post here was first conceived to be focused on strengthening the vibrant food citizenship movement and has evolved to cover exploring ethical and dignified approaches to building community food resilience alongside.

Visual capture of Building Community Food Resilience event by Ali Spaul

I’ve spent the first part of this year working with colleagues on approaches that support the work of community food organisations. Earlier in March, Food Ethics Council published a guide called Building Community Food Resilience, written to unpick and understand what a path to building community resilience in the UK could look like. It looks at long-term strategies to address household food insecurity in the UK, using the food citizenship framework as a guide.

I have been thinking a lot about the following question:

Is food citizenship a core element of building community food resilience, or is building community food resilience a core element of food citizenship? And indeed, does it even matter so long as we consider both?

In truth, I have come to believe that the two concepts are so intertwined, it is not terribly useful to try to separate them. Food citizenship suggests that everyone has something to contribute to the community and has the power and potential to make a difference to their food environment i.e. we all have skills, knowledge, ideas and assets that can benefit the community. Food citizenship is therefore about exchange, and reciprocity.

I love this quote from Edgar Villanueva, shared in Citizens by Jon Alexander. Community food resilience (and indeed the concept of food citizenship) is built on reciprocity.

Photograph of an Edgar Villanueva quote on reciprocity from Citizens by Jon Alexander

On 17th March, we brought together a brilliant, inspiring and dedicated bunch to talk about what community food organisations can do to empower people in their neighbourhoods and tackle hunger and hardship with dignity. Over 140 people attended to hear from speakers including Food for Life, Foodhall, An Even Better Arbourthorne, Greener Kirkcaldy and Dr Megan Blake from the University of Sheffield. You can watch the recording and download the report and slides here. It was wonderful too to be in the presence of such a committed, lively and knowledgeable audience, who asked great questions and shared their own successes and challenges. The image at the top of the page is the visual capture of the presentations and conversations at the event, done by the very talented Ali Spaul. We are stunned by how much rich detail Ali was able to capture, and we are so grateful for this vibrant image.

Coming up, we’re hosting an in person event on 10th May with Jon Alexander and Signe Johansen called Food Citizens: A Different Story to Tell. Keep an eye here for booking details.

Lastly, we’ve made some changes to our website, do let me know what you think on:

beth@foodethicscouncil.org

Follow us @UKfoodcitizens on twitter and sign up for the newsletter (strict no spam promise). Thanks for reading.

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