It is, I know, a statement of the bleeding obvious to say that we must get rid of food poverty. It’s perhaps a little less obvious to argue that one of the key ways of doing so will be to stop using the damn phrase “food poverty” itself. This seems nonsensical, doesn’t it, at a time when the Trussell Trust is reporting that it handed out a record 1.6m emergency food packages in 2018; that it saw a 19% increase in the number of people needing its help.
And yet it’s so. We need to stop treating a lack of access to good food as some discrete disease. We need to start talking simply about poverty.
For the latest issue of Observer Food Monthly I have been investigating the world of so-called social supermarkets: shops selling surplus from mainstream food retail and production at a massive discount to those in dire need. This looks, at first glance, like a case study in food poverty. But, as it was put to me by Gary Stott, who set up the Community Shop group, a prime example of a social supermarket model: “Food poverty creates the idea that there’s just one thing that needs fixing.” Give people an emergency food package, and they can eat. When of course it doesn’t deal with the underlying problems of social exclusion and low wages.
Read more at the Guardian