Social resilience in local food systems: A foundation for food security during a crisis

Zerbian, Tanya, Adams, Mags orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8949-1381 and Wilson, Neil orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2235-6086 (2022) Social resilience in local food systems: A foundation for food security during a crisis. In: Food Systems Resilience. IntechOpen.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has presented new challenges for food production, distribution, and consumption and has exacerbated existing inequalities in access to food. However, it has also provided new opportunities for local communities to work differently, to increase collaboration, and to improve outcomes for those most in need. This chapter focuses on how various local food initiatives within a specific UK city, Preston in NW England, interact, cooperate and collaborate, and the changes to these interactions during a crisis. The findings derive from a social network analysis (SNA) conducted during summer 2020 examining how relationships changed during the crisis, and online semi-structured interviews. Using resilience as a framework to understand these dynamics, the chapter argues that social preconditions, such as a previously organised local food network in partnership with local authorities, have helped communities to self-organise and respond to difficult circumstances. Moreover, it also highlights the ways in which responses to major disruption (Covid-19) can bring about the collective questioning of current models of emergency food provisioning and create stronger collaborative bonds within already organised networks. We demonstrate that such processes could potentially improve food insecurity outcomes by combining locally grown food and dignified food access options.

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