Eating waste : a critical evaluation of surplus food redistribution as solution to food waste and food insecurity

Spring, C 2018, Eating waste : a critical evaluation of surplus food redistribution as solution to food waste and food insecurity , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis critically explores relationships between food insecurity and food waste in the UK through the lens of surplus food redistribution (SFR). Ethnographic research compared two UK redistribution organisations’ models, framings, practices and political modalities. Additionally, international comparisons involved research with SFR organisations in North America, where such practices largely denote a sophisticated and large-scale network of foodbanks and subsidiary charities that yield lessons around a key UK debates: does the expansion of charitable distribution of wasted food prevent efforts to prevent the inequality and poverty underlying hunger?

Chapter 4 shows how hunger and waste have become co-framed in public discourse, and how this has shaped responses, particularly how discursive alliances can either contest or favour the expansion of food aid. Chapter 5 articulates assemblage ontologies and political ecology to compare infrastructural, material and labour practices by participant organisations, arguing the important of recognising more-than-human dimensions of SFR landscapes. Chapter 6 analyses spaces of eating and encounter, drawing attention to how social difference is constructed and/or challenged by different SFR models. Chapter 7 compares UK observations with findings from North America, considering how critiques of charitable food redistribution have influenced changes in redistribution practice, such as the inclusion of foodbank users in decision making or the use of surplus food to create training and employment opportunities for excluded groups.

Research revealed how shifting SFR infrastructures affect organisations’ capacity to critique and transform systemic aspects of waste and hunger. The thesis argues that SFR can boost food access and create important spaces of encounter. However, it demonstrates how organisations’ articulations with corporations, state bodies and other organisations constitute affordances and constraints for SFR’s radical potential, specifically their capacity to depoliticise or contest causes of food precarity and waste.

Critiquing power dynamics affecting globalising forms of SFR, the thesis articulates lessons about the political and material affordances of different redistribution models, contributing to debates around the messy realities of wasted food activism and its capacities for radical, preventative change. The thesis concludes with recommendations for practitioners and policy-makers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Adams, MD (Supervisor) and Hardman, M (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Depositing User: CHARLOTTE Spring
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2018 13:55
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:12

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