This multidisciplinary research project explores how access to quality nutrition can be improved for vulnerable target groups in Antwerp by strengthening partners in dealing with this issue. The increasing number of initiatives around food seem to have little connection with people in vulnerability (Steunpunt tot bestrijding van armoede, 2019). International literature on food injustice and food insecurity points to an unequal distribution of the availability of quality and sustainable food in society (Ohri-Vachaspati, et al., 2019). The uneven distribution has many causes. For example, a study of food retail in Antwerp shows that social housing estates and garden districts are in danger of becoming “urban deserts” (places with very little food retail) (Cant, 2019).
Approach and Methodology
This study brings together insights from nutrition and dietetics and social work to study barriers to quality nutrition and to empower partners in increasing access.
In a first phase, we survey practice partners in the work fields of both programs about their experiences with nutrition and vulnerability (broad work field survey). What do they come into contact with? Who do they think is vulnerable in this area? Where do organizational needs lie? The second phase consists of a mixed method survey of people in vulnerability. What are their feeding patterns? What do they collide with? In this part we combine quantitative data with forms of qualitative storytelling (building life stories around nutrition). We will also conduct more in-depth qualitative interviews with a selection of organizations working on nutrition and vulnerability about their working principles, barriers and obstacles.
During the project, together with partners in the field and target groups, we will work on knowledge sharing, valorization of lessons learned and support materials for practice partners who want to focus on this theme.
Collaboration with: UAntwerpen, Velt, Filet Divers, Steunpunt tot bestrijding van armoede, bestaansonzekerheid en sociale uitsluiting; Lokale voedselstrategie Antwerpen, Logo Antwerpen, Oxfam-Wereldwinkels vzw, De Kompaan, Vlaams Instituut Gezond Leven