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Sustainable and just food system futures

21 October 2020

Hannah Pitt, Angelina Sanderson-Bellamy and Poppy Nicol

ASPECT Event 13th October 2020 

As part of the ASPECT 2020 Annual Event held virtually this year, Hannah Pitt, Angelina Sanderson Bellamy and Poppy Nicol, all researchers at the Sustainable Places Research Institute, presented their work on sustainable and just food system futures.  

Rooted with Global Perspectives

Staying rooted in Wales with global perspectives, the work on food systems at the Sustainable Places Research Institute aims to create transformational spaces for action, building capacity and networks as foundations for societal transformation. 

In the online webinar, Hannah, Angelina and Poppy shared how collaborative ways of working through partnerships and coproduction can create transformational spaces for action.  They also showed how problem-driven research can be used to address knowledge gaps

Impact of COVID-19 on the Welsh food system: lessons from a pandemic 

Hannah, Sêr Cymru II Research Fellow at the Institute, shared key findings from her recent research that explored the impact of COVID-19 on the horticulture sector within Wales. Working collaboratively with partners Tyfu Cymru, Food Sense Wales and Peas Please enabled Hannah to respond quickly to the pandemic, capturing useful information about the impact of the pandemic on the Welsh food system. Findings highlight that fruit and vegetable growers in Wales need support to help them deal with a dramatic increase in demand.  

Wales Food Network 

Angelina Sanderson -Bellamy, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute discussed the recently launched Wales Food Network mapping survey and network tool which aims to support a better understanding of the people, organisations and partnerships across Wales working towards a sustainable and just food system. The tool aims to support knowledge exchange and capacity building across the Welsh food sector, with the aim of an open resource that anyone can interact with in order to support their activities towards building a sustainable and just food system.  For anyone wishing to fill in the survey, you can access it here (the survey takes about 20 minutes to complete) and the Network mapping tool can be accessed here

Co-operative Ways of Working in Wales  

Poppy Nicol, Research Associate at the Institute discussed a recent piece of work that explores co-operative ways of working and the potential role they can play in sustainable and just food futures. Findings from a report co-authored with Alice Taherzadeh ‘Working Co-operatively for Sustainable and Just Food Systems in Wales’ highlights how co-operatives and co-operative ways of working, whilst currently playing a fledgling role in the Welsh food economy could play an important role in fostering sustainable and just food systems in Wales in the future. Launched at the Senedd via a roundtable event, the report was used as a tool to provoke further discussion amongst stakeholders including practitioners, third sector representatives and policy-makers to discuss how policy could be foster more cooperative ways of working. These topics will be further discussed in the coming year, supported via ESRC IAA funding for a series of online and (hopefully) in person events around the topic of Working Co-operatively for Sustainable and Just Food System Transformations in Wales: 2040.  

Collectively Imagining Future Food Systems  

The Institute’s activities on food also highlight how social science research methods, including deliberative democracy, can be used to generate discussion and collectively agreed action amongst diverse stakeholders.  

On the 7th November 10am-midday as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2020, researchers at PLACE in partnership with Food Cardiff and Food Manifesto Wales will be hosting an online People’s Assembly on the topic of Cardiff city region food futures. As one of several People’s Assemblies across Wales on the topic of food system futures, residents of the Cardiff city region will be invited to come together to imagine the future of their food system and the challenges in getting there. Working in partnership with Food Cardiff creates opportunity to apply of some of the findings in future local food plans. 

You can find the full recording of the session and other insights from the webinar below.