Understanding participation in community food activities

Understanding Participation in Community Food Activities

A report commissioned by Food For Life Get Togethers, undertaken by Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR), Coventry University.

The research is primarily aimed at understanding how facilitating organisations, such as charities and community organisers or other groups active in community-based food activities can more effectively motivate and enable participation among diverse communities.

If we are all to make a lasting and collective shift to food systems which are good for all people and our planet, sustain cohesive and resilient communities, and enable food citizenship we need to first understand what the landscape looks like and how best to influence it.

  1. Food-cabulary_illustration_carrot

    Report 1: Literature review

    A systematic literature review of motivations, barriers and enablers. Read here.

    Read More Translation.Word.About Report 1: Literature review
  2. Peas illustration

    Report 2: Empirical study

    An empirical study on motivations, barriers and enablers

    Read More Translation.Word.About Report 2: Empirical study
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    A synthesis report on motivations, barriers and enablers.

    Read More Translation.Word.About Summary

The report asked:

  1. What motivates people to get together over community food growing, cooking, eating, and sharing of food activities?
  2. Why is participation in these activities uneven across geographical areas and social groups?
  3. What stops (some) people joining in?
  4. What can community organisers and larger organisations in particular do to support participation by diverse communities?

What are the key findings?

  • No single motivation or set of motivations is found to be most prominent.
  • Barriers are equally diverse and multiple and depend on the type of activity and its implementation, individual participants’ circumstances and the local context.
  • Enablers are context-specific and they correspond to a particular combination of motivations and barriers.
  • There is no one single lever to enable participation in community food activities applicable to all contexts.

We want to see a world where everyone can be actively engaged in healthy & sustainable food-related issues and initiatives within and beyond their community. But as this report shows, barriers and motivations to participate in community food activities are diverse, and there is not one single approach that supports everyone to participate.”

Helen Browning, CEO of the Soil Association

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