Community food projects should be welcoming and safe spaces for the community to come together around food, but in some cases, those that may benefit most from attending may not feel comfortable doing so.

There are several aspects to consider including but not limited to:

The environment

  • Does the space feel welcoming when people walk in?
  • Including information on notice boards/ leaflets signposting to information relevant for particular groups e.g. LGBTQ+ community, refugees and people seeking asylum, single parents, older people etc.
  • Is the space accessible? This is important for people with both physical and mental health issues and people that are neurodiverse; not all disabilities are visible
  • Signage signaling the space is breastfeeding friendly
  • See guidance from the Alliance for Dignified Food Support

The food

  • Providing food from a range of cultures and cuisines, following feedback from members/customers/service users
  • Celebrating different cultures and cuisines with shared meals and recipes
  • Providing food appropriate for different ages
  • For information around appropriately providing infant formula, see Feed UK’s guidelines

Marketing materials

  • Using images in promotional materials which include a diverse range of people
  • Explicitly stating that the space is welcoming to everyone regardless of protected characteristics and discrimination is not tolerated on promotional materials, guidance, membership materials etc
  • Explicitly stating that the space is accessible to people with disabilities, chronic health conditions and neurodiverse people
  • Including a pride flag on promotional material

Staff and volunteers

  • Recruiting for diversity – see guidance from Sustain and the EW Group
  • Consider promoting schemes such as the ethnicity confident and disability confident schemes when hiring
  • Consider reasonable adjustments that can be made to remove unnecessary barriers for staff, volunteers and members/ customers/service users with disabilities

Data and monitoring

  • Keeping data collection to the minimum of what is necessary for operations and monitoring and evaluation, not collecting ‘data for data’s sake’
  • Reassuring people of confidentiality, particularly where factors such as immigration status could be a barrier

For more information and good practice around being inclusive to LGBTQ+ communities, see our blogs from Pride 2023 and LGBTQ+ History Month 24 on diversity and inclusion in growing and food projects.

For more information on being inclusive to neurodiverse staff, volunteers and customers/members, see our blog from Neurodiversity celebration week, and consider becoming JAM card friendly. For an example of good practice, find out how BrightStore Whitehawk  adapt the opening times of their shop to support neurodiverse members.

The Real Farming Trust have several resources for community food projects including a webinar on food support for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. For more information about food experiences of people seeking asylum, and examples of good practice and recommendations for community food projects, see our briefing, report, and webinar recording on the subject.

Good Food Enterprise: Working to provide food that is good for people and the planet, and support local production playing a part in community beyond trading.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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