Co-developing and applying a Social Impact Toolkit for Community Food Businesses in the UK

social impact
Public lectures / seminars

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Thursday 22 April 2021

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM





Event details

Speaker bio

Luke Owen is an Assistant Professor based in the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR). He is a social scientist with a background in human geography, and specialises in a range of qualitative research methodologies and data analysis techniques.

Luke’s research interests concern the sociology of alternative agri-food systems. His work is guided by principles of impact and Participatory Action Research and involves enquiry into the theoretical and practical debates around Alternative Food Networks and Short Food Chains. In particular, Luke’s work explores how these types of systems contribute to community resilience, rural development and the livelihoods of small-scale food producers.


Conventional food systems have long been ‘disconnecting’ people and places from one another, supplanting community-scale, localised short food supply chains in favour of longer, complex, often internationalised ones that society has little connection to. However, self-organising communities and agroecological innovators, such as those who instigate Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) schemes, have been and continue to respond to this issue and other converging crises associated with climate change and asymmetric power relations within agri-food systems. Yet the evidence base about the impacts of such community-scale responses remains comparatively sparse and piecemeal.

Given this context, since 2016 CAWR has collaborated with The Real Farming Trust (RFT) through a number of funded research projects that explore the social impact of community-scale, agroecological food provisioning systems such as CSAs and box schemes. This work has culminated in the co-creation and application of an interactive and digitised Social Impact Toolkit for Community Food Businesses in the UK.

The toolkit has been designed as a visual, structured platform of information, tools and indicators that can be used in a standalone capacity to help understand social impact and outcomes associated with the work of Community Food Businesses, such as CSAs and box schemes.

This seminar/webinar is an opportunity for us to connect with prospective users of the toolkit, to explain how it works, and outline how it can be of benefit. We also seek to amplify the toolkit’s reach and to identify possible collaborations with other related projects. In doing so, the gathering and consolidation of evidence about the impact that Community Food Businesses are having can continue to be generated and used to leverage change.