MPs, Lords and Ministers hear from Dr Bryce Evans on visit to ParliamentThursday 14 April 2016
Senior Lecturer in History Dr Bryce Evans was invited to Parliament to brief MPs, Lords and Ministers on the history and future of communal dining.
The briefing session was organised as a precursor to the 2016 Rio Nutrition Summit and saw Dr Evans outline his research into the history of 'national restaurants' in Britain and communal dining in Latin America.
The Rio Nutrition Summit provides an opportunity for new UK commitments to tackle malnutrition at home and abroad in line with new sustainable development goals.
In Brazil, subsidised restaurants in cities are a major plank of the government's Zero Hunger strategy, a policy which has in turn inspired the UN's zero hunger challenge. There are around 100 popular restaurants spread across Brazil's cities - ensuring up to a quarter of a million people a day receive an affordable and nutritious meal - and 70 community kitchens, which feed around 150,000 people a day. Although they are state subsidised and price regulated, many are subcontracted out to private businesses, cooperatives or community groups, and all must turn over a profit.
Dr Evans pointed out the strong similarities between the British 'national kitchen' and 'national restaurant' movements, which operated during and after World Wars One and Two. He urged the Government to do more to support communal dining in the UK today.
Brazil's popular restaurants operate alongside schemes such as fairer prices for farmers, food baskets, food banks, food stamps, free school meals and restrictions on junk food advertising. In 2010, the right to food was enshrined in the Brazilian constitution. While problems remain, UN estimates point to radical reductions in poverty and food insecurity in Latin America's largest country.
The event was attended by the Under Secretary of State for Public Health Jane Ellison, Under Secretary of State for International Development Baroness Verma, and various members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger; the APPG on Brazil; and the APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development.