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SAFE self-organising networks for food justice

Project Summary

  • Self-organising Action for Food Equity (SAFE) is a 2 year research projec with practical aims  
  • It covers 3 cities: Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Gothenburg, all of which are developing comprehensive food strategies
  • It aims to address the lack of understanding on how best to organise, harmonise and capitalise on the energy of separate food projects in each city
  • It will learn, evaluate and share insights on how expertise and information in our urban food systems is collected, presented and shared using ‘digital infrastructure’ 

The Detail
Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Gothenburg are at pivotal points regarding their food systems, as all at various stages of developing comprehensive food strategies. Numerous food based initiatives and networks exist in each city region. However, like most cities internationally, there is a lack of understanding on how best to organise, harmonise and capitalise on the energy of these separate projects. A significant barrier to such coordination is that food is a cross-cutting issue that spans social, ecological, economic, political, cultural, technical, and climatic arenas, and often falls through the cracks between different areas of urban responsibility.

This project will bring together people with different interests and backgrounds to learn, evaluate and share insights on how expertise and information in our urban food systems is collected, presented and shared using digital infrastructure.
 

The key project aims are:
Increase participation in initiatives which enhance food quality, affordability and accessibility
Give a more coherent voice to the people involved in their local food ‘ecosystem’, which will allow them to exert pressure and influence for change.
Improve social networking and sharing of knowledge and physical resources (e.g. expertise, tools, time, land) between different initiatives, creating a stronger urban food ecosystem

Using the urban food system as a lens for self-organising governance systems, this project will use co-production to learn, evaluate and disseminate insights on how information is curated, represented, presented and shared using a digital commons. Citizens will be supported in developing and supporting local initiatives through a process of ‘nurtured serendipity’ that sees governance as seeding a series of networks that share learning and skills. This idea behind the project is that by supporting the development of social and digital infrastructures that are underpinned by self-organising networks, we can increase participation in initiatives which enhance food quality, affordability and access in low income communities.

Project members

  • Nick Taylor Buck

    Dr Nick Taylor Buck, Research Fellow, Urban Institute, The University of Sheffield. Leading the research at the Sheffield-Manchester Platform for the project Implementing the New Urban Agenda and The Sustainable Development Goals: Comparative Urban Perspectives. 

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Beth Perry

Professor Beth Perry is the Director of the Sheffield Manchester Local Interaction Platform for Mistra Urban Futures.