SPERI research fellow Hannah Lambie-Mumford was an expert witness yesterday at the second hearing of the Fabian Society’s Food and Poverty Commission. The session, focused on ‘context and access’, looked at the contexts in which food practices occur including access to food, culture and marketing.
Hannah gave evidence related specifically to issues of food access. Presenting findings from previous research, Hannah argued that physical access to food is an important factor for the Commission to consider and should be seen as one of several key structural determinants of food poverty – also including income, food prices and transport infrastructure – all of which should be addressed. Hannah also talked about current barriers to the development of progressive food policy which could overcome food access issues and argued that food should not just be seen as an issue of health and healthy behaviours and that rising food poverty shows that previous hands-off policy approaches focused on free markets and consumers shaping the nature of demand have ultimately failed.
Evidence was also given at the session by Dr Wendy Wills and Jon Alexander. Wendy Wills from the University of Hertfordshire presented evidence based on her experience of conducting research with children, young people and their families in relation to the socio-cultural and socio-economic context of food and eating practices. Jon Alexander, Founder of the New Citizenship Project, drew on his background in the advertising industry to talk about the role of food marketing and the key questions which need to be raised to shape ethical ways forward.
About the Commission:
The Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty is bringing together experts in food policy and related fields including health, the environment, and education to examine how poverty relates to the food system. The Commission will be sitting over the next year and will make recommendations towards the creation of a fair and sustainable food system. The Commission is chaired by Geoff Tansey. Next hearing will take place in Sheffield on 27 January 2015.
Hannah joined SPERI in September 2014 as a Research Fellow. Her research focuses on food poverty, the rise of emergency food provision and the right to food. She was involved in the Defra funded review of food aid which was published in February 2014. Hannah is a member of Child Poverty Action Group’s (CPAG) policy committee and in June 2014 was awarded first prize for Outstanding Early Career Impact at the ESRC’s Celebrating Impact awards.