"People are finding it quite tough just now"- Community Food Initiatives in Edinburgh: Opportunities and Challenges for Improving Food Security among Their Service Users
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Lings, D. (2016) "People are finding it quite tough just now"- Community Food Initiatives in Edinburgh: Opportunities and Challenges for Improving Food Security among Their Service Users, no. 81.
The aim of this study is to explore the potential role of urban Community Food Initiatives (CFIs), situated in deprived areas of Edinburgh, in enhancing their service users' Food Security (FS). This is done through applying a lens of the Six Food Security Pillars: availability, accessibility, adequacy, utilization, acceptability and agency, which capture the multidimensionality of the FS concept. The findings are based on the data collected from the seven semi-structured interviews with the experts of various Edinburgh CFIs. The findings highlight the many ways in which the CFIs activities relate to the six FS dimensions and hence contribute to the service users' FS. The CFIs filled in some of the gaps in the communities, enhancing the availability, accessibility and utilization and acceptability of fresh and nutritious produce. Conversely to Food Banks, the CFIs could also be seen as acceptable ways of obtaining food while building community cohesion, capacity and empowering their members. However, the sufficiency of the produce was questioned as was the agency and influence beyond the community level. In conclusion, the CFIs play a role in enhancing some aspects of individual and community level FS as conceptualised through the Six Food Security Pillars framework. However multi-level partnerships and political engagement are needed to tackle root causes of FIS. Additionally, FS needs to become a legitimate objective of CFIs. Furthermore, there is a necessity for sound social protection for vulnerable populations to prevent further rise of Food Banks and other forms of emergency food aid. Key words: Food security, food insecurity, community food initiatives, community gardens, community café, food cooperative, nutrition and cooking education, low-income, developed countries;