Liverpool Hope University welcomed the Food and Work Network (FAWN) to the Creative Campus on Friday 17 February for the latest leg of their nationwide series of meetings which seek to understand the relationship between food inequalities and working patterns in the UK.
Formed in May 2022, FAWN is a coalition of academics, food activists, trade unions and politicians and its members include MP for Liverpool West Derby Ian Byrne, and Hope’s Professor Bryce Evans.
It has called upon the government to declare a National Food Emergency and to legislate around the Right To Food, a parliamentary campaign led by Byrne.
The Liverpool leg of the series discussed food inequalities, racism and food security and social eating and was hosted by Professor Evans, with contributions from fellow Hope academics, Dr Natalija Atas and Dr Wendy Coxhall.
Professor Evans is a food historian, researcher and author who covers a range of topics surrounding the past, present and future of food, including sustainability, global food history and global food challenges.
"It was a pleasure to host this national workshop at our Creative Campus,” he said.
“With the cost of living crisis and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, food is assuming great importance: its price, its distribution, our health and dietary relationship to it, and the relationship between food and wages.
“FAWN critically interrogates all these pressing issues. As a food historian, it is fascinating to see the way in which our relationship with food assumes great importance in times of conflict and inflation: history, in many ways, repeating itself.”
FAWN was launched with the intention of exploring what political interventions could be made to prevent people in this country from going hungry or being forced to rely on foodbanks. Meetings have been held in London and Cardiff, with another to follow in Sheffield as part of the nationwide series of workshops.
Commenting on the Liverpool meeting, FAWN co-founder Dr Tommy Kane said: “It is important to go around the country and get a sense of the challenges people are facing, but it’s also about trying to understand what people are doing about that and sharing good examples so people can learn from them.
“We saw that in Liverpool with Bettylicious, a community organisation making plant-based West African food that is trying to help people feed themselves in fairly deprived parts of Liverpool.
“To hear that story was inspiring.”