Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

A genealogy of the food bank: historicising the rise of food charity in the UK

Williams, Andrew ORCID: and May, Jon 2022. A genealogy of the food bank: historicising the rise of food charity in the UK. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 47 (3) , pp. 618-634. 10.1111/tran.12535

[thumbnail of Trans Inst British Geog - 2022 - Williams - A genealogy of the food bank Historicising the rise of food charity in the UK.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


It is widely supposed that food banks and key aspects of the UK’s wider food banking system – referral networks, eligibility tests, food vouchers, corporate sponsorship and the close entanglement of food charity with local and national government – are new to the UK, either imported from North America or emerging ex nihilio with the Trussell Trust in the early 2000s. Drawing on local and national newspaper archives and data from Companies House, the Charity Commission and internet archiving website the WayBack Machine, we present a genealogy that challenges these origins and situates UK food banking in a set of historically contingent practices, alliances and struggles many of which are nowadays forgotten. Contributing to work on policy mobilities in the voluntary sector, we pay particular attention to the development of the UK’s contemporary food banking system through the movement of ideas and practices between different organisations (for example, between food banks, corporate food retailers and US tech companies) and different charitable fields (including overseas aid and homelessness), between the charitable sector and the state, and between different places both within and without the UK. The resulting genealogy not only extends, and reframes, the history of British food banking – including claims as to the recent institutionalisation of food banks in a neoliberal state welfare apparatus – but works to disrupt the rationalities and ‘regime(s) of acceptability’ that underpin and maintain the modus operandi of many current-day food banks.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0020-2754
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 February 2022
Date of Acceptance: 8 February 2022
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 17:29

Citation Data

Cited 6 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics