Food 2.0: Sustainable Food Futures - young people's views from Rio and London

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway, University of London
Department Name: Geography

Abstract

This interdisciplinary project explores with youth from income-poor urban settings how they conceptualise sustainable food. It does this through the medium of participatory film.

In Rio, the social geography of urban inequality is such that many urban youths grow up in favelas, or informal, income-poor settlements. In London, urban inequality is expressed in other spatial patterns, nevertheless, there boroughs with more income-poor people. Challenges such as reliance on food banks, lack of availability of affordable fresh food, obesity and malnutrition are common in both cities, while at the same time community gardens, community markets, free school meals, campaigns against food deserts etc. exist in both settings. In Brazil, there is also an innovative new policy on regionally appropriate and sustainably sourced school meals. Previous work by the UK-Brazilian project team (ESRC-DFID Choices project) focused on large scale representative surveys and focus groups in Brazil which showed that Brazilians strongly supported sustainable sourcing in public procurement.

In each city, the project works with community organisations active in the local area who have been developing digital media or participatory theatre projects with local youths who are often from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The aim of the project is to
a) to explore with urban youths in receipt of school meals how they conceptualise sustainable food, food justice and urban food sovereignty
b) to engage with the youths, the public and policy makers through participatory video, film competitions and public film screenings, thus continuing to build pathways to impact
c) to deepen a recent research partnership between two centres of excellence in sustainable consumption at Royal Holloway, University of London and the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
d) to trial participatory methodologies, to compare research practice and prepare future joint research

Participatory workshops will be offered Rio and London, which combine the emancipatory pedagogy of Paulo Freire with the new technologies of filming on mobile phone cameras. We will draw on previous findings from the surveys and focus groups and present the results to the 14-18 year old youths for discussion. Then the youths will be invited to participate in a film competition. The winning team from Rio will be invited to a film screening showing the Brazilian and UK films in a London cinema and take part in a panel discussion with policy makers, community activists and local politicians. Equally the team from London will travel to Rio to present and discuss their film there.

While there is no predicting what the young film-makers will express in their films, these creative pieces will help initiate discussion wit the public about food justice, sustainable food and urban food sovereignty. Combining an academic, a practice and a policy perspective on the issue, and linking the local level food challenges with an international perspective, the project promises to generate new ways of understanding food futures.

Planned Impact

Brazil is the 7th largest economy, and yet one of the most unequal societies in the world, with a Gini index of 0.55 (World Bank 2013). Government policies, including the school meals policy, focus on reducing inequality and have shown some effect.

Less heard is the perspective of youths from disadvantaged urban areas, such as favelas, on their own hoped-for food futures. In this action research project we work with local NGOs to a) use an updated version of Freirean pedagogy to pursue the development objectives of raising consciousness around food sovereignty, sustainability and food justice
b) building transferable employability skills in participatory video making and digital media,
c) fostering the creativity and resilience of youths in the favela,
d) building the capacity of researchers, and
d) use participatory video and UNICEF's U-reporter methods to carry the voices of youth into public, policy and development cooperation for a

In the UK, the effects of rising inequality are also keenly felt. Food-related problems such as obesity, reliance on foodbanks, lack of access to affordable fresh food etc are all issues of relevance to disadvantaged youths in urban areas.

This project will benefit youth from low-income neighbourhoods in London, asking them about the food futures they imagine. They too will benefit from
a) awareness-raising around food sovereignty, sustainability and food justice
b) developing transferable employability skills in participatory video making and digital media
c) fostering the creativity of youths

In addition, we will be experimenting with using participatory video and UNICEF's U-reporter methods to carry the voices of youth into public and policy arenas.

Ethical consumption is a research area in which global North and middle-class research subjects dominate (Cotte & Trudel 2009). Further, this research area has not sufficiently engaged with the growing urban food sovereignty debates. Food sovereignty is a movement which asserts the right of people to define their own food systems (Via Campesina 1996). Brazil has recently introduced a pioneering school meals policy which stresses children's right to healthy and culturally appropriate food, buys 30% of ingredients from family farms and pays a premium for organic produce (Bartholo et al. 2012). To our knowledge no research has yet been conducted exploring the pupils' perspective.

Our research will connect Brazilian and UK perspectives, thus benefitting the research communities in each country, in particular in the fields of urban studies, ethical consumption, sustainability, and participatory video.

Further, our research allows us to explore the use of participatory video as a research method in food research and ethical consumption research.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/M011615/1 01/01/2015 30/11/2016 £89,546
ES/M011615/2 Transfer ES/M011615/1 01/12/2016 31/10/2017 £55,910
 
Title 12 x 5 min high-quality digital films produced by the participants in the workshops as their final products and/or competition entries 
Description The participants in Rio developed several shorter films and 6 high-quality artistic 5 min short films which were entered into the film competition. The participants in London developed 4 high-quality 5 min digital short films as their final products after the week-long training workshop and another 2 were the winner and runner-up in the film competition. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact The films were produced and gave the young film-makers from disadvantaged backgrounds a voice and a sense of achievement. All 12 films were screened at least twice, once to the whole group and once in public. The winning films were published on the project website and put on YouTube where others commented on them. 
URL http://www.youthandfoodfutures.org
 
Description We wanted to explore whether participatory digital film was a feasible and effective method to explore what young people envisioned as just and sustainable food futures. We successfully, in collaboration with local NGOs in Rio and London developed a methodology for participatory digital film. In each country (Brazil and UK) we ran the workshops with the young people, we offered a film competition following the workshops and we took the winning teams of young film-makers to mutual visits in the other city.

We found that the methodology offered an excellent way to empower the young people to be creative and be listened to. The training element strengthened the confidence of the young film-makers and the trip for the winning groups was a profound experience.

However, it is important to note how time intensive this methodology is compared to for example interview or focus group methods. So it is worth noting that achieving scale will be very difficult and that these activities are best embedded in the existing activities of local NGOs, such as summer programmes or creative training workshops. Such double-badging will allow NGO staff to justify spending time alongside researchers in the co-production of these innovative film workshops with young people.
Exploitation Route We look forward to sharing our key findings widely in academic, NGO and policy circles. Already, audiences at academic conferences, such as the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual Conference have responded very positively.
Unicef Office of Research commissioned the UK PI to write a Methods Guide on participatory methods with children and young people.
Unicef Montenegro invited the UK PI to carry out/co-produce a workshop with young people in Montenegro, succefully replicating the methodology with a different topic, that of cyberbullying. We recommend that community organisations such as the ones we worked with (Ovalhouse, Inspire and Observatorio de Favelas) take forward the methodology we developed and integrate it in their summer programmes with young people. Policy makers should take note of the topics and perspectives developed by the young people in their films. The methodology could be integrated in schools as a way to support young people's sense of citizenship and activism, as long as the school itself offers a sufficiently open-minded environment. For disadvantaged youth, community spaces in their own neighbourhood may offer more liberating space.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.youthandfoodfutures.org
 
Description Please see www.youthandfoodfutures.org for a better description of the project and its ongoing impact. The Films produced as part of the project were shown at a special film screening at London's Ovalhouse Theatre and in Rio de Janeiro at the Community Organisation Observatorio de Favelas, at the Universidad Federal do Rio de Janeiro and at the Community Organisation Voz Nativa. Over 30 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Rio and London were trained in participatory digital film making; Three community organisations, Ovalhouse and Inspire in South London and Observatorio de Favelas in Rio, collaborated in developing the methodology, received 1 set of camera kit, tripod etc and so remain in a position to replicate the methodology with further groups of youth. Three youth workers from these organisations travelled to another country, met with their peers and developed ideas for their own community development practice and youth work. Having seen the project process and results, UNICEF Office of Research commissioned the PI to write an open-access Methods Guide on participatory research methods with young people. Having seen the project process and results, UNICEF Montenegro invited the PI to replicate the methodology in co-production with Unicef, with young people in Montenegro. This was undertaken in November 2016, as a 4-day workshop and proved that it was possible to transfer the methodological toolkit developed in the project to another cultural context, another set of participants and to another topic, "opportunities and risks online" - including cyberbullying. Unicef Montenegro now look to spread the toolkit to other UNICEF country offices.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Global Challenges Research Fund ESRC Digital Development Strategic Network
Amount £140,423 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 06/2018
 
Description Large Grant
Amount £681,234 (GBP)
Funding ID BH170896 RES/0321/TBC - Sustainable Consumption and Agri-food Ethics in the Global South 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2018 
End 04/2020
 
Title New Methodology for Participatory Digital Video Workshops 
Description We developed a methodology to carry our participatory digital video workshops based on Freirean Pedagogy. This was applied in Brazil over 6 weeks and in UK over days. Further it was replicated with Unicef Montenegro with educationally more advantaged youth in a 4 day workshop. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact We were asked by Unicef Montenegro to replicate the methodology there and did so successfully, with a different set of young people and on a different topic, 
URL http://www.youthandfoodfutures.org
 
Description Collaboration RHUL and Inspire Community Organisation 
Organisation Inspire at St Peters
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution we collaborated on the action research process as per our research proposal. For more information please see www.youthandfoodfutures.org
Collaborator Contribution we collaborated on the action research process as per our research proposal. For more information please see www.youthandfoodfutures.org
Impact we are working on a joint paper
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration RHUL with Ovalhouse Theatre 
Organisation Ovalhouse Theatre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Ovalhouse Theatre as per the research proposal. For more details and photos please see www.youthandfoodfutures.org
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration with Ovalhouse Theatre as per the research proposal. For more details and photos please see www.youthandfoodfutures.org
Impact we are writing a paper together
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration between Observatorio de Favelas and URFJ 
Organisation Favela Observatory
Country Brazil 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Through this research project, the leading NGO Observatorio de Favelas and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro collaborated in putting together a participatory video workshop with young people from the favela Mare.
Collaborator Contribution Observatorio contributed in kind approximately 12 person days to this ESRC-CONFAP project
Impact - joint workshop with young people from the favela - research trip to London for the representative of Observatorio to present their work
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration between Royal Holloway and Unicef Office of Research 
Organisation UNICEF
Department Innocenti Research Centre
Country Global 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Based on our experience with this project, Unicef's Office of Research commissioned us to write a report on using participatory methods with children and youth
Collaborator Contribution They commissioned the report
Impact - report as commissioned by Unicef
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration between Sheffield University and UNICEF Montenegro 
Organisation UNICEF
Country Global 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution - Unicef Montenegro asked us to replicate the participatory film methodology developed in this project with a different target group of young people (in Montenegro) and on a different topic (cyber-bullying)
Collaborator Contribution - 5 days of collaborative work during the workshop with 2.5 members of staff from Unicef
Impact - Our report to UNICEF discussing participatory methods with children used the findings from this collaboration
Start Year 2016
 
Description RHUL collaboration with UFRJ 
Organisation Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Two research centres collaborating on the project
Collaborator Contribution Two research centres collaborating on the project
Impact previous joint papers
Start Year 2015
 
Description Digital Development Workshop 1 in Pretoria, South Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Digital Development Workshop brought together researchers from different disciplines, as well as representatives from business, international NGOs and third party research organisations. 29 partners from 10 countries were involved, 24 attended a 3-day workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://siid.group.shef.ac.uk/digital-development-strategic-network/
 
Description Film Tour/Trip with the winning film-makers from London to present film in Rio 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The prize for the winning film-makers from London was a 1-week trip to Rio to present their film, meet counterparts, and discover life in the favela/ meet students from the university/ visit an organic farm/hold a workshop to reflect on the week.
The trip was led by the PIs from Rio and London and involved also representatives from the 2 London NGOs and 4 young film-makers from South London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.youthandfoodfutures.org
 
Description Film Tour/Trip with the winning film-makers from Rio to present film in London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The prize for the winning film-makers from Rio was a 1-week trip to London to present their film, meet counterparts, and discover life in South London/ meet students from the university/ visit an organic farm/hold a workshop to reflect on the week.
The trip was led by the PIs from London and Rio and involved also representatives from 1 Rio NGO (Observatorio) the 2 London NGOs, 3 film-makers from Rio and 4 young film-makers from South London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.youthandfoodfutures.org
 
Description Public Film Screening In London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We held a public film screening to celebrate the success of the young film-makers. We screened their films at Ovalhouse Theatre in London and engaged with the audiences in a Q&A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.youthandfoodfutures.org
 
Description Public Film Screening in Rio 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We showed the films that the young film-makers had produced to an interested public and community organisations at the Observatorio de Favela in Rio de Janeiro. There was a lively Q&A afterwards and more community organisations were interested in the medium of participatory digital film
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.youthandfoodfutures.org