Food Ladders: A multi-scaled approach to everyday food security and community resilience

2019-08-13T12:44:26Z (GMT) by Megan Blake
The food ladders approach is a novel, evidence-based approach for creating and household and community resilience by capitalising on the capacity of food to bring people together. Food Ladders is not like existing household food insecurity approaches that focus on the lack of good food within households and then feeds that gap. Instead, Food Ladders activates food and its related practices progressively to reduce local vulnerability to food insecurity and its knock-on effects.

At the core of Food Ladders is a conceptual framework of practices that can be used to evaluate, assess, and implement activities that enhance resilience. The framework is based on three levels. Level 1 focuses on activities that result in coping resilience. These activities act as a safety net and catch people when they are in crisis. Level 2 fosters adapting resilience and is produced by practices that are asset recognising and asset building. Level 3 enables transformation resilience, which reduces the vulnerabilities to existing mechanisms that cause shock. These activities are typically self-organised, build on existing assets, may have reach beyond the community itself. These are capacity mobilising activities. Evaluation should occur within the scale of the locality, rather than the organisational or household scale. One important dimension of this evaluation is in not just determining the levels that might be present within the locality, but also considering the degree to which they are connected to each other and enable a pathway for people.

Food Ladders was developed through a series of research projects funded by the ESRC, MRC, and the N8 AgriFood Programme. This interdisciplinary work is a collaboration between Dr. Blake and a wide range of partners, including local authorities, food industry actors, national charities and community organisations across the UK.