Ensuring all residents have physical access to good food
Those on low incomes often live in areas where convenience stores (with a limited range of goods) or fast food outlets predominate. Food poverty alliances and local authorities can encourage and support outlets and stalls that provide the low-cost provision of fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods, helping low-income citizens have access to affordable fresh produce within easy walking distance of where they live.
A number of food poverty alliances have undertaken mapping exercises in order to comprehensively assess which areas have limited access to certain types of shop; whether public transport routes link to food shops; and whether, for example, outlets selling unhealthy snacks are congregating near school gates. Working with local authorities, they can then use planning powers to encourage a spread and diversity of shops and markets, ensure that new developments have enough food shops, and support good public transport links. They can also play an important role in encouraging local businesses to provide healthier options, and to accept both Healthy Start vouchers and where available the charitably funded Alexandra Rose vouchers, redeemable for fruit and vegetables.
- Measuring and mapping food poverty and local response (Food Power, 2018)
- Food Environment Assessment Tool (FEAT) provides data on cafes, convenience stores, restaurants, speciality outlets, supermarkets and takeaways in England
- Royal Borough of Greenwich Food Poverty Needs Assessment (Good Food in Greenwich, 2016)
- The cost of a healthy food basket on the island of Ireland (safefood 2016) plus two page synopsis of findings
- The cost of a healthy food basket: Pilot study of two household types in Northern Ireland (safefood 2015)
- Shopping for Food: Lessons from a London Borough (Bowyer, S., Caraher, M., Eilbert, K. & Carr-Hill, R., 2009)
- A tale of two localities: Healthy eating on a restricted income (Lloyd, S., Lawton, J., Caraher, M., Singh, G., Horsley, K. & Mussa, F., 2011)
- Buywell Retail Project worked with 15 London convenience stores in deprived areas to encourage people to eat more fresh fruit and veg (Final report, Sustain, 2009-2010)
Photo credit: Pexels
Food Poverty: Over 8 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. Sustain is working with communities, third-sector organisations, local authorities and government, aiming to make sure everyone can eat well.
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