Based at: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Supervisors: Dr Claire Thompson and Professor Steven Cummins
Project title: The nutritional practices of food banks and how they intersect with household food practices
Project summary: Since the 1980s, neoliberalism has dominated the global political economy. However, socioeconomic and health inequalities have since widened and as a result of limited State intervention, charitable organisations have rapidly expanded to provide poverty relief, mainly in the form of food aid through food banks. With over 2000 food banks in the UK, food bank use and demand has been labelled a ‘public health emergency.’ Little is known on the use of food banks at a household level and their impact on nutritional and health status, which is concerning considering the pre-existing challenges low income households face in obtaining diets adequate in nutritional quantity and quality. As such, my project aims to qualitatively explore the extent to which nutrition is incorporated into the guidelines and practices of food banks and how they intersect with household food practices. I aim to use a critical discourse analysis and multiple ethnographic approaches to characterise food in the context of food poverty and hunger; distinguish the scope and nature of food-related practices and guidelines; explore the perceptions and experiences of households in accessing and interacting with food banks and; establish what impact receiving food aid has on household food practices and choices.
Practice engagement: I will be engaging with and involving practice colleagues (specifically, public health, nutrition, and food aid professionals) by presenting at practice themed seminars and workshops and seeking collaborations with practice-based networks such as the Children and Young Person’s Nutrition Network
Public engagement: Public engagement opportunities will be pursued mainly through the community hubs (food banks) I will be working with for my project. This will include presenting findings at local schools and libraries and, more broadly, participating in public engagement research events such as the Festival of Social Science. Additionally, I will be working with food banks and their trustees and volunteers which will provide me with access to a pool of people who could potentially advise me on my project.
Find out more about Denise’s work.