a-good-food-plan

Talking About and Sharing Good Food

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As we like to say, Company Drinks is about much more than just bottling fizz. Our community enterprise is a shared production cycle which involves collaborators, partners, friends, exchanges, nature, wellbeing, commerce and community. We have always been interested in supporting healthier food systems and more collaborative food networks….. Something we’ve explored over the years in our annual picking and drinks-making, our Digesting Politics Lunch Talks, our foraging walks, our visits to farms, our Molecular Fizz workshops and Youth Academy, our work with the Good Food Collective, and, most recently, our HAF Programmes with Made Up Kitchen….

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This year we’ve dug deeper into these ideas and networks, and we’ve been working with LBBD and the food charity Sustain on a piece of research that looks into a Good Food Plan for Barking and Dagenham. The aim of this research was to develop an understanding of the great work already happening in the borough, and to speak with local residents to find out what is needed in order to grow a healthier, more climate-friendly, more affordable, more culturally appropriate and nourishing local food system.

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One part of this research was to recruit and work with a local research panel made up of residents with an interest in growing, making, trading and sharing good food. Below we have a blog from Resident Research Panel member Kamila Bourouiba on her experience of carrying out community-led research in her borough….

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THE GOOD FOOD PLAN: RESIDENT RESEARCH PANEL :

Blog by Resident Research Panel member Kamila Bourouiba

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6 Resident Research Panel members, 4 meetings between June and September, 367 people engaged.

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One set of demands… making a collective vision for a Good Food Plan

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Our Good Food Residents Panel was formed in early summer following a targeted outreach through Company Drinks’ local partners We formed a group of 6, who have experience of living and/ or working in the borough. Our panelists are all passionate about food issues in our communities and represent the cultural diversity in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

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Introducing our Residents Research Panel:

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Kamila Bourouiba (Couleur Cafe, Barking)

Andrew Williams (Hustle Eats)

Nia Lopez (Thames Life Community Development Trust)

Emdad Rahman (CST, local voluntary sector

Elisabetta Nasta (Local resident / EOED member)

Mide Allen (permaculturist, Farmstead Project, Fruitful Garden

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We held 4 meetings throughout this period, 3 of which took place before the research began and helped us shape the project. Focusing on ensuring better engagement across the borough. This was done mainly through our panelists who, being local residents, could each focus on our own networks allowing barriers of engagement to be broken through our personal connections with our communities. 

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In order to raise more awareness, we set up our “Open Kitchen” drop-in consultations at the Company Drinks Pavilion and held meetings with local partners and partner organisations who joined us in open conversation to develop an understanding of existing growing, cooking, health and wellbeing options. They also identified our challenges for providing healthy food and wellbeing and opportunities to overcome these.

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In August the time came to conduct our resident research. Before setting out and conducting our research we all received basic training in conducting social research through interviews and how to record qualitative data. We were also provided with care measures to safeguard both ourselves and our interviewees. 

 

The Resident Research was conducted over the period of one month. Giving us plenty of time to reach out to our communities. Panelists had 1-1 or group conversations with fellow residents and workers of the borough focusing on our survey for guidance. This allowed us to collect the specific information we were looking for; what change our residents want to see in the food availability in the borough, and the apprehensiveness of some food businesses in how they would make the change and whether they would be supported with guidance.

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During our final panel meeting we discussed our research journeys and findings. This revealed that there was an overwhelming demand for change and through-out the response to the research there were 8 x Community Demands agreed together as a group with Sustain and LBBD present: 

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  • Access to healthier, fresher food
  • The Good Food Plan must be inclusive
  • Develop and celebrate our Local Food Champions
  • Affordability and cost of living must be at the heart of the plan
  • Nuture a culture of Good Food Businesses and Enterprises
  • Building trust and long-term projects
  • More local food growing
  • More choice and cultural diversity

 

We hope to see these demands be the focus points for the much anticipated change we all want to see in our borough’s food economy.