By Jane Campbell
2nd July 2021
Food Builds Community: From crisis to transformation shows how communities can create lasting change.
The research looks at the work of Big Local communities across the UK, which range from inner city urban neighbourhoods to remote rural villages. When given £1m to make resident-led change happen in their neighbourhoods, 143 of the 150 Big Local areas chose to work on food, or to use food to help bring their communities together.
The report highlights the important role that food plays in encouraging community engagement and participation, and in creating a positive community culture. When the pandemic hit, Big Local communities were able to switch gears entirely or step up their food provision in response to increasing food poverty and need for support. They were able to do this because of their existing structures, networks of volunteers and the links and trust they’ve built within their communities.
The research also reveals that the food work of Big Local partnerships is largely responding to challenges caused by the current food and broader policy systems – especially the emphasis on emergency food provision across Big Local areas. There is a huge opportunity for Big Local areas, and other similar communities, to use these networks and community relationships to change and improve their local food system rather than just responding to crises.
The food system could look entirely different if communities, like those within Big Local, had the resources and power to enact their versions of our food future – and this is something that government, funders and others can help with. This food future would be possible if:
Download a copy of the full report above.