Local food systems are influenced by the movement of people (and food), in addition to the wider impact of government policy, globalisation, media, markets and technologies, that shape sociocultural norms. This has led to a diversification of the food environment and dietary habits in the UK.
Local governments need more evidence-based policies on the food environment to tackle the increasing trends in diet-related diseases, a nutritional outcome of suboptimal local food environments, which are socially patterned. There is however a gap in understanding consumer behaviour in everyday day local food environments, required to design effective policies. This is increasingly relevant in an ‘age of migration’, which increases diversity, brings opportunities but also challenges associated with hidden patterns of inequality.
The study aims to examine the impact of migration on local food environments by exploring the interaction between people and place using a mixed method approach (triangulation).
I have liaised with public health practitioners who advised on the development of my research questions. I plan to continue the engagement as the study progresses and shall seek additional opportunities to understand how knowledge is translated into practice. (for example, networks with non-governmental organisations).
As part of the research project, I shall use photovoice, a community participatory research approach, to explore public perceptions of changes to the local food environment.