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Building relationships back into the food system: addressing food insecurity and food well-being

Verfuerth, Caroline ORCID:, Sanderson Bellamy, Angelina ORCID:, Adlerova, Barbora and Dutton, Amy 2023. Building relationships back into the food system: addressing food insecurity and food well-being. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 7 , 1218299. 10.3389/fsufs.2023.1218299

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Introduction: Failures of the current food system sit at the core of the multitude of crises by being the root framework for both consumption choices and food production. Low-income households are disproportionately affected by these failures, impacting their food security and access to healthy and sustainable foods. Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a bottom-up response towards an agri-food system transformation by providing an alternative food system based on agroecologically grown food that is sold locally and rooted in social values. Alongside other food citizenship movements and alternative food networks (AFN), CSAs are driven by the vision to develop a democratic, socially and economically just, and environmentally sustainable food system. Yet, low-income households are underrepresented in the CSA community. Method: Our paper presents findings from a co-produced intervention between the research team, four CSA farms based in Wales, United Kingdom and two food aid partners that sought to identify ways to improve the accessibility of CSA memberships for food-insecure households. Thirty-eight households received a weekly veg bag for a period of 2–4 months. We interviewed 16 household members at the project start and end of the harvest season. Building on the food well-being framework, we investigate impacts of a CSA membership on food-insecure households. Results: We found that CSA membership holistically improves food well-being, through strengthening producer-consumer relationships, increasing availability of healthy foods, helping people to care for their own and their families well-being, and building place-based food capability and literacy. Discussion: This paper supports wider narratives that call for systematically prioritizing interventions that promote overall food well-being, which can lead to sustainable and just food systems with positive outcomes for financially excluded, food insecure households in localized AFNs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 2571-581X
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 August 2023
Date of Acceptance: 20 June 2023
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2023 00:24

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