Food stalled

Eat all, sup all, pay nowt – it’s the Yorkshire creed but it’s hard to keep to in the county’s poorest quarters. Megan Blake, helps bring home the snap.

For several years I have been investigating foodscapes. Foodscapes are the contexts within which we source the food we eat. Components of a foodscape include what food is present as well as what is absent; how it is used and accessed; and how it is understood.My research has taken me to Edlington – a former mining town on the edges of Doncaster – where the housing estates at either end of it are among the 10% most economically-deprived areas of England. The high street has more shops with shuttered fronts than those that are trading.

I’m here to meet a group of six women aged between 26 and 67 to talk about their views and experiences on how they eat, living as they do, in a place that is not well served by retail and where people are struggling to make ends meet. More importantly, I am curious to know what they think would make things better.

When I enter the community centre there is much activity – a welcome contrast to the empty street outside. People are using the computers and free internet to access the benefits portal and document their job searches as they are required to do. Several women are there to volunteer with a children’s holiday activity that the centre provides.

Sam, who runs the community centre activities, explains why they do this: “At the minute the cost of living is increasing, and wages aren’t

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Megan Blake

Megan is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Sheffield. She has more than 25 years of experience conducting primary research and analysis on social innovation, community …

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