Changing the narrative on food poverty

An article that I’ve written for Clore Social Leadership is published today. In it I explain why I feel strongly that we need to all get behind the message that better wages, better jobs and a better benefits system are what’s needed to solve food poverty, rather than trying to solve food poverty with food.

The more research I’ve done, the more I’ve learnt that food poverty is a result of income issues.

That’s not to say that I don’t see a place for food programmes (many people are hungry and need food now) but anyone involved in this line of work must never talk of what they do being the answer to food poverty.

I felt there was a need to write this article because I regularly see skewed messages coming from various sources, including some food aid programmes as well as the media. And if they don’t explicitly say that they are solving food poverty through their activities, the implication is certainly there.

I don’t want this to seem like I’m bashing food banks or other types of food programmes though. I believe there are many people who run these services who completely get that the hunger issue isn’t getting any better as a result of what they do. They want to see wider change as much as anyone, if not more.

One of the reasons I have recently set up the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) is because I wanted to give these groups the opportunity to have a voice at a national level, to show that the very people that are being relied upon to feed people in poverty don’t want to see further institutionalisation of food aid.

Rather than dismissing food banks we should bring them into the conversation - during the scoping stage of setting up IFAN over 90% of the groups that we surveyed said they wanted to be part of a voice for change.

More than anything I hope that my article motivates more people to get involved in the debate so that voice is as loud as possible.

Click here to read the article in full.