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Food Care

foto Food Care

Problem Outline

This multidisciplinary research project investigates how access to quality food can be improved for vulnerable social groups in Antwerp by strengthening field partners in dealing with this theme. The increasing number of initiatives around food seem to have little connection with people in vulnerability (Combat Poverty, Insecurity and Social Exclusion Service, 2019). International literature on food injustice and food insecurity points to an unequal distribution of the availability of quality and sustainable food in society (Ohri-Vachaspati, et al., 2019). The uneven distribution has many causes. For example, a study into food retail in Antwerp shows that social housing estates and garden districts are in danger of becoming 'urban deserts' (places with very little food retail) (Cant, 2019). 

Approach and methodology

This research combines insights from nutrition and dietary science and from social work to study the barriers to quality nutrition and to strengthen field partners in increasing access.

In a first phase, we will question field partners in both programmes about their experiences with nutrition and vulnerability (broad field survey). What do they come into contact with? Who do they think is vulnerable in this respect? What are the organisational needs? The second phase consists of a mixed-method survey of people in vulnerability. What are their feeding patterns? What do they clash with? In this part, we combine quantitative data with forms of qualitative storytelling (building life stories around food). Also, a selection of organisations involved in nutrition and vulnerability will be subjected to in-depth qualitative questioning about their working principles, barriers and obstacles.

During the project, together with partners in practice and the target group, we will work on knowledge sharing, the valorisation of lessons learned and support materials for partners in practice who wish to focus on this theme.