Understanding motivations, barriers and enablers for participation in community food activities

Understanding motivations, barriers and enablers for participation in community food activities

Funder

Soil Association (Food for Life) and the National Lottery Community Fund

National Lottery Community Fund x767.jpg

Soil Association Food for Life logo

Total value of project

£26,100

Project team

Dr Lopamudra Patnaik Saxena, Dr Jana Fried, Joshua Rees (PhD student), Dr Jasber Singh 

Duration of project

19th April 2021 – 30 November 2021


Project overview

What motivates people to get together for community food activities like community-based food growing, cooking, eating, and sharing of food? Why is participation in these activities uneven across geographical areas and social groups? What stops (some) people joining in? What can community organisers and larger organisations do to support participation by diverse communities?

These questions are more important than ever with increasing food insecurity, social isolation and loneliness, and the resulting negative effects on peoples’ health and well-being. Whilst there is a growing awareness of the challenges of structural and systemic inequalities disproportionately affecting some social groups, there is less understanding about what can practicably be done to address and reduce them.

Project objectives

The aim of this project is to further our understanding of the motivations, barriers and enablers of diverse communities’ participation in community food activities to:

  • Understand what motivates people to get together for community food activities.
  • Identify potential barriers to participation in community food activities, especially for those from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Discover what factors enable participation in community food activities.
  • Develop a set of recommendations for larger facilitating organisations (charities or anchor institutions), community organisations, and individual organisers to effectively support participation in community food activities.

Impact statement

There is growing evidence from academic and practitioner research of the numerous positive social outcomes of participation in community food activities, for both individuals and communities. However, our understanding of the drivers and barriers influencing community participation is limited, especially in relation to social groups experiencing different forms of social exclusion and marginalisation. Therefore, it is highly relevant - from both a research and a practice perspective - to enhance our understanding and identify effective ways for enabling participation in community food activities in order to benefit from their positive outcomes and, furthermore, to counter the additional social challenges currently presented by Covid-19.

Outputs

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021