Food Poverty During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Food poverty has affected many families in the UK, and with the spread of COVID-19 finding affordable, nutritious, and healthy foods has become even harder. Food poverty means that people either can’t afford food or don’t have access to certain foods in their community, making it hard for them to maintain a well balanced diet, or even consume hot meals.
For some families, this can mean parents are skipping meals in favor of their children, or children only have access to food during school time. The UK also has what is known as “food deserts” where certain areas see populations between 5-15,000 people can have little to no access to larger supermarkets, making it hard for them to access a wide variety of food.
Currently, the UK imports 48% of the total food it consumes which makes it not as self sufficient and environmentally friendly as it could be. In Wales, less than 1% of land is used to grow vegetables. This means that for many, their food supply is reliant on big business supermarkets that may not be in their price range. Consequently, there is more food waste, food miles and potentially less shelf life for the consumer.
To combat food poverty and to promote local food production and distribution, organisations such as EBD’s 2021 partner Growing for Change aim to provide local food options that are accessible, nutritious, and affordable to the local community. Penrhyn House, a therapeutic and rehabilitation centre for those recovering from substance abuse, is operating Growing for Change and hopes to change North Wales by providing economic regeneration, education, and training. The organisation is working to provide “field to plate” food to the local area by providing produce to local shops, restaurants and cafes through seasonal salad bags.
Raising Awareness Locally and Globally
This year, we’ve challenged our students to “act locally, think globally”. By teaming up with Growing for Change, our teams will work to create proposals and a media campaign for an enterprise that will maintain a healthy planet, while increasing the consumption of nutritious food to create a healthy community.
Our Enterprise by Design multidisciplinary teams are looking at ways they could expand on Growing for Change’s existing enterprise, developing ideas for a new local business that will maintain a healthy planet, provide local opportunities and food options, and ultimately combat the growing food poverty issue. To do this, our teams need to come up with ideas that are economically viable, can create opportunities locally, and be profit-seeking to sustain the business in the long term.
Our teams have the unique task of creating a media campaign that will highlight the impact a local food enterprise could have on the environment and ways to combat food poverty locally and globally through local food production. Our student teams will work in multidisciplinary groups across Business, Arts, Science and Engineering to create media such as videos and infographics that show the effects of food poverty and food waste in the UK. Their aim will be to prove local food enterprises are able to help bring economic regeneration, employability, community support, volunteer opportunities and more to north Wales!
Throughout the 10 week competition, our students will work with academic experts across their disciplines that will guide them in creating business plans, market research reports and media content. At the end of the 10 weeks, our teams will present their ideas through a Pecha Kucha presentation and website, in front of a panel of judges that include our business partners. At the end of the competition, the winners of the competition will go on to receive prizes that total £5,000 — and a chance to develop their idea further!
In a time when so many conversations around the environment and food production are being conducted in an online space, we can’t wait to see the ways our teams will raise awareness online about local food production and how north Wales can be an active area in fighting food poverty!