Public catering as an effective food policy measure in Finland

By: Ville Tikka & Tiina Silvasti, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

It is surprising, how small and occasional attention public catering as a modern food policy practice ensuring food and nutrition security in Finland has attracted. After all, it is estimated that one in three Finns of working age belongs to the clientele of public or subsidized catering and, when explored from the life course perspective, everyone in Finland enjoys public meals in some phase of her/his life.

It is estimated that a third of the Finnish population use public catering services on a daily basis: Coverage of free school lunch is 100 per cent in the age group of 7-16 years and approximately half of the children below the age of seven eat for free – or to be precise, at taxpayers’ expense – in day care, kindergarten or preschool. Also upper secondary schools and vocational institutions serve free school lunches. Continue reading “Public catering as an effective food policy measure in Finland”

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Zooming in on ‘Food poverty’

By Brídín Carroll

Food poverty has been identified by TRANSMANGO as a key area of concern for food and nutrition security (FNS) in Europe (see D5.2). But what exactly is ‘food poverty’? 

Food poverty is defined as existing when one cannot access or avail of a safe and healthy diet, often because of financial restrictions. A key element of food poverty is uncertainty of supply and understandings of this concept therefore also tend to incorporate considerations of social or cultural norms, standards, customs or acceptability with regard to food (Nikolic et al, 2014; Dowler and O’Connor, 2012; Burns et al, 2010; Balanda et al, 2008; Dowler et al, 2007). Continue reading “Zooming in on ‘Food poverty’”

TRANSMANGO: The project that is *not* about mangoes

Four years into the project, roughly 30 country level food systems reports and about 18 deliverables later… And many of us will have had a question about mangoes at some point in time while at a conference or a local meeting. To clear the air and clarify what TRANSMANGO is all about; I’ll give a brief (as possible) overview of the project’s interdisciplinary, multi-layered and multi-sited work and some of the key deliverables and interesting reports produced throughout these years. Sad to say, this will not involve any mangoes… 🙂

As we set out on this ambitious project, our aims were to firstly, reformulate the debate on FNS. A second, more methodological objective, was to develop new ways of system modelling by combing quantitive and qualitative approaches. And lastly, through his new methodological approach we aimed to connect EU-level dynamics and local-level dynamics regarding food systems. The idea behind all these objectives was to connect the work on quantitative and indicator-based assessments of food systems to the vast empirical diversity regarding the securities, vulnerabilities and sovereignties around food, and as such build a comprehensive picture of EU food systems.

Continue reading “TRANSMANGO: The project that is *not* about mangoes”

Promising insights into local pathways to food and nutrition security

A major part of the TRANSMANGO project, was the interrogation of locally enacted pathways to address food system vulnerabilities and ensure food and nutrition security. Although food system vulnerabilities have been subject to a variety of global and national interventions, programmes and policies, these have not been able to fully address these challenges.

The starting point for WP6 was the assumption that food systems cannot be understood as uniform. ‘Local’ actors too attempt to address food system vulnerabilities within their locality and in doing so may offer promising and resilient practices. The recently published local food and nutrition security (FNS) pathways reports showcase a rich diversity of practices found at the local level and can serve as insights for policy-makers at EU and local level. The cases have been synthesised in D6.4.

Continue reading “Promising insights into local pathways to food and nutrition security”

Brexit: Towards building a new consensus for an Integrated Food and Rural Development Policy?

TransmangoJust as increasing calls and debates occur regarding the need for a more integrated and comprehensive Food and Agricultural policy across Europe we now have the Brexit result, which  whilst not changing the urgency for the need  to debate the shape of European policy beyond 2020, certainly adds another dimension and potential ‘opportunity space’ for such developments. Whilst specific instruments and policy programmes might indeed increasingly vary across Europe, this result does not quell the need to debate what sort of founding and common principles upon which such policies should be based.

Here I would like to set out some of the issues and reactions to the Brexit vote for the agri-food policy arena, some of which I presented and discussed at the recent UK Food Research Consortium held at City University, London in July. I also draw upon the recent policy paper we have written, entitled ‘Food Policy and Public Policy’ for the Welsh Minister for Farming and Food [1]. In addition these arguments here draw upon the research and discussions associated with the ongoing (and increasingly policy relevant) EU funded research project, TRANSMANGO [2] . Continue reading “Brexit: Towards building a new consensus for an Integrated Food and Rural Development Policy?”

Towards a Common Food Policy for the EU – a 3 year reflection led by IPES-Food

Rural Sociology Wageningen University

March 17 2016 IPES-Food (Twitter @IPESfood) launched a three-year process of reflection and research entitled: Towards a Common Food Policy for the European Union. IPES-Food will convene scientists, civil society groups, grassroots organisations and policy-makers from various governance levels in order to identify the policy tools that would be needed to deliver sustainable food systems in Europe. Kick-off meeting will be on April 17 in the European Parliament. A concept note Towards a Common Food Policy for the EU can be downloaded. Olivier De Schutter, co-chair of IPES-Food, will lead the process and explained the need for an EU food policy in an address to the European Economic and Social Committee on March 11th in a video:

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Experiences from Latvia: Local foresight workshop on school meal systems

The status and development of the Latvian school meal system was the main focus of the first local workshop by the Baltic Studies Centre-team. On the 18th of February we welcomed 19 participants to discuss the current status and developments within the school meal systems. The participants ranged from high level Ministry officials to end users  faced with changes in the school meal system; the high school pupils.

The timing of the workshop was somewhat complicated, as the beginning of 2016 saw a dramatic increase of controversy over new regulations of school meal quality aspects issued by the Ministry of Health. Thus the scenario workshop had the added value of providing the much needed safe and non-partisan meeting place for various stakeholders to try and align the diverse perspectives and agendas. Many participants noted that in the course of their professional activities they do not get the opportunity to meet some of the groups represented at the workshop and this opportunity was much appreciated. This workshop focussed on the desired goals in the school meal system, possible paths to attain those goals, and the downscaling of three EU-level scenarios to the level of the food system and school meals in Latvia. Continue reading “Experiences from Latvia: Local foresight workshop on school meal systems”

The TRANSMANGO Vulnerability Matrix: a conceptual & communicative tool

Food security is a complex domain; in Europe, it may appear less relevant and evident, while it’s more insidious nature reveals several symptoms. How to translate this opaque intricacy into an intelligible and logical synthesis? The Vulnerability Matrix which is part of WP2 is a conceptual and communicative tool to condense these complex phenomena into a visual summary that flags possible areas for policy action. The TRANSMANGO Matrix is inspired by the outcomes of the media content analyses carried out at national level in WP2 (found here).

The aim of the matrix is to give a synthetic representation of the main areas of food and nutrition vulnerability in the EU, in relation to the factors those areas are vulnerable to. The goal is to give policy-makers, experts and stakeholders a map for food and nutrition vulnerability mitigation where the main sensitive issues (priority mitigation areas) can be visualised. The Matrix is intended to support prompt identification of critical and emerging vulnerability elements. The use of icons is aimed at giving the reader an easy and immediate visual appreciation of the contents of each cell and of the Matrix general contents. Continue reading “The TRANSMANGO Vulnerability Matrix: a conceptual & communicative tool”

Reflections on the STEPS Centre Summer School 2015

As part of her training program within Transmango, Aniek Hebinck attended the STEPS Summer School in Brighton last Spring. In this blog she and a fellow attendant reflect on those two weeks of training.

NEST / PhDs in Transitions

This post was co-authored by Fredric Bauer (Lund University) and Aniek Hebinck (Wageningen University).

The Summer School run by the STEPS Centrehas become one of the centre’s annual highlights by bringing together young researchers to explore the intricate world of pathways to sustainability. Co-owned by the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, the centre combines topics of development and innovation in its research and teaching.

During two very intensive weeks in Spring, we and 40 other PhD students and young researchers coming from 31 countries spent our time studying, thinking, discussing, and debating ‘pathways to sustainability’. Central to these debates were the politics and framings of sustainable transitions in global settings, e.g. cases discussed were agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, water in India, and renewable energy in Europe. Between lectures given by distinguished academics such as Ian Scoones, Andy…

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