The Covid-19 crisis has revealed the stark inequalities in UK society. Many vulnerable people have had more difficulty accessing food, so third-sector organisations have mobilised emergency food provision. They have also expanded community food-growing initiatives, which enhance participants’ well-being, strengthen social cohesion, localise food provision and thus build future resilience. This project investigated the expansion of community food-growing initiatives during the Covid-19 crisis. The benefits to community initiatives and the people involved in group food-growing activities was explored, along with the social barriers and means to overcome them, especially for more vulnerable marginalised social groups. Our aim was to strengthen third-sector capacities for such inclusion.

This project worked with partners active in community cultivation, Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) and Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming. Through participatory digital storytelling, the project elicited participants’ feelings, aspirations, social connections and multiple benefits from community food activities. This knowledge identified the most effective strategies that have been deployed during the Covid-19 crisis. The project ran from January 2021 to June 2022.

For brief news items on our project findings, see First Insights, Second Insights and Radically Hopefully Cooperation.

Click here to access our free OpenLearn Create course on storytelling concepts and techniques.

Click here to read our report on Visual Storytelling about Community Food Growing.

  • Location UK
  • Collaborators The Open University, Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC), Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming
  • Funding UKRI/AHRC - UK Research and Innovation/ Arts and Humanities Research Council, The Open University grant ref: AH/V015109/1 - Full title: Local food-growing initiatives respond to the Covid-19 crisis: enhancing well-being, building community for better futures
  • Service provided Research, Development of digital stories and OpenLearn Create Courses
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