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Research and Innovation


The Exeter Food newsletter comes out every month.

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Latest news

Food Co-ops and Community Action - Dr Celia Plender

Dr Celia Plender has had various opportunities to talk to the public about her research into food cooperatives and mutual aid in recent months. The first of these events was as part of Food on Film, which is a collaboration between Exeter Food and the Exeter Phoenix culture centre. For the spring season the theme was ‘working together’, which included a documentary on community food projects in Britain and mutual aid during the pandemic. This was produced as part of the UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research project Covid-19: Mutual Aid Groups and their Lessons for Post-Crisis Community Care. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with DrOli Mould (one of the researchers behind the film), Iona Collins (the manager a St Sidwell’s Community Centre in Exeter) and Celia. There was a rich discussion of topics ranging from food insecurity to experiences during the pandemic, and the meaning of mutual aid today. After the event several audience members acknowledged what an important set of issues these are as well as the ways in which the screening and discussion had helped them to think through these.  

In May, Celia then gave a talk on food co-ops for Exeter Connect, a voluntary and community support service that has been running a series of events about food resilience in the local area. After Celia’s presentation, there was a lively discussion about local food issues and potential solutions. Celia has also been interviewed about food co-ops for the podcast Innovation in Financial Inclusion, which is hosted by Community Finance Solutions at the University of Salford Business School recently. The food co-ops episode should be out in August. 

Watch From Below here   

Find Out more about Food on Film here 

Listen to the Innovation in Financial Inclusion podcast here 

Participatory Research Fund Success  - Dr Celia Plender

In partnership with Devon Community Foundation, Dr Celia Plender has recently been awarded £8,000 as part of a pilot phase of the University of Exeter’s new Participatory Research Fund, which enables academics and community partners to work together on short projects. Celia will be collaborating with Nicola Frost the Head of Impact, Insight and Learning at Devon Community Foundation to host knowledge exchange events around the issue of how to bridge the gap between food access and food sustainability. Cary Rudolph will also be joining the project as a researcher and event facilitator. The project will complement a current Community Knowledge Fund project run by Devon Community Foundation and funded by UKRI, which seeks to facilitate opportunities for conversation and exchange between food producers and disadvantaged local residents in North Devon to explore what barriers exist in making local food more easily available to those facing food insecurity. It also builds on work that Celia has done into food access and food sustainability, which has included a range of workshops with food practitioners and academics focussing on barriers and solutions to bridging the gap. Celia and Nicola are looking forward to sharing their knowledge with each other and with relevant stakeholders to produce outputs ranging from a toolkit for practitioners, to policy recommendations and a potential funding template.