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A rising number of people are food insecure in the UK, with an increasing number of recipients experiencing in-work poverty (The Trussell Trust, 2019). Even before COVID-19 struck, the UK was behind its commitments to end all forms of malnutrition by 2025 (UKSSD, 2018). Exacerbated by the longstanding impacts of austerity, the rapid growth of households in need of food assistance was a marked feature of the pandemic.
The coordinated response of local authorities and voluntary and community sector organisations served as a lifeline to many households. However, this response has been emergency-driven, and we know little about how this endures in the longer term as the aftershocks continue, and economic crisis deepens. Further, there is increasing evidence of the unequal impact of the pandemic on particular groups (e.g. minority ethnic groups, marginalised groups, people with disabilities, children in low-income families).
The need to develop place-based and rights-based strategies, which ensure that no one is left behind, is becoming a critical imperative. Further, the need to look for longer-term approaches to food and nutrition security is becoming evident. There is little understanding, however, so far on how these intentions can be translated into effective practices and policies at different levels.
The call for presentations in this track includes, but is not limited to, exploring answers to suggested questions as listed below:
Questions here include:
- What innovative practices have been implemented by the private, public, and voluntary and community sector organisations, and the lessons that can be learnt (what has been learnt) from responding ‘at speed’?
- What can we learn from the ‘new’ relationships or partnerships that (voluntary sector organisations have developed with local authorities) have emerged in (responding) response to tackling food insecurity and/or food poverty?
- How has the pandemic reframed current challenges and solutions to food insecurity? And what does this mean for visualising and implementing a resilient future pathway to end hunger and food poverty?
- What new stakeholders, partners and audiences have been engaged during the pandemic, and what effect has this had?
- What innovative practices have been implemented by voluntary sector organisations and what has been learnt from responding ‘at speed’?
- What can we learn from the relationships that voluntary sector organisations have developed with local authorities in responding to food insecurity?
- To what extent has recent public attention to food insecurity reframed policy responsibilities for tackling food insecurity? And what has this meant for the power dynamics between the charitable sector, the food industry, and local/regional/national governance of food insecurity?
- Does this represent anything other than a tweak to existing (broken) system or seeds of structural transformation? And what concepts enable us to make sense of these changes?