Why study food?

I have recently had the opportunity to learn more about the relationship between food and public policy. City University London (where I am currently based), in fact, is world-famous for its Centre for Food Policy, where I have been auditing some classes.

When I say I study food, people usually assume that I must have some quirky interest in nutrition, and can’t really see a connection with, say, political economy. Food, however, is at the crossroads of many different forces that are pulling it in different directions. In many cases, food has provided a great illustration of the ups-and-downs of capitalism. Additionally, being such a fundamental part of people’s lives, food is perhaps the most direct means of seeing how given political-economic choices ultimately impact people’s well-being. In the space of a blog post, I can try to provide some examples of the interconnected issues which food policy touches upon. Read more

Who rescues the beautiful society from the Big Society?

I have recently joined a communal garden in London called the “Calthorpe Project“, where I help with the maintenance of the lawns and the edible garden. I was so (pleasantly) suprised to have found such an oasis of peace in the centre of a heavily “built” part of London. The Calthorpe project is a little older than me, having recently turned 27, and – much like an older friend – it provides support to many of the people around the local area, organising a wealth of community-driven activities.

In post-riot London, one would assume initiatives such as this one would be met with widespread support. Unfortunately, however, the trickle-down effect of government cuts has translated into a significant slashing of funding from Camden council, the local authority that partly – though significantly – contributed to the project’s running costs. Read more