Tackling Food Poverty

Date: 2009

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Lessons from the Decent Food for All (DFfA) Intervention

This report summarises the evaluation of the Decent Food for All (DFfA) intervention that was delivered by the Armagh and Dungannon Health Action Zone (ADHAZ) Partnership in the Southern Health and Social Services Board area in Northern Ireland. Further details can be found in three supporting documents accompanying this report.

Background

People are living in food poverty if they are unable to consume adequate safe healthy food in ways that arealigned with their cultural and social norms. As a result their physical, mental and social health and well-being suffer. In part due to the challenges faced in gaining financial and physical access to safe healthy food, people in lower socio-economic groups are at an increased risk of food poverty and obesity.

When the DFfA intervention was being developed there was no formal policy framework for tackling food poverty or obesity in Northern Ireland. The government’s Fit Futures Strategy only emerged towards the end of the DFfA intervention period. As a result of this changing policy context, DFfA’s objectives were flexible so it could respond to emerging regional priorities.

What is DFfA?

Decent Food for All (DFfA) was a four-year community-based project developed and implemented by the ADHAZ Partnership. Its aim was to increase physical, financial and information access to safe healthy food in twelve deprived/highly deprived wards in the ADHAZ area. DFfA’s core activities focused on group-based health educational sessions and practical workshops, general communications and contributions to other community initiated events. Delivered between April 2003 and March 2007, the DFfA intervention was funded by safefood and the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland (FSANI) (£240,000 over four years).

The DFfA recognised that efforts to tackle food poverty need to be part of wider efforts to address local regeneration and social inclusion. In addition to this initial funding, the ADHAZ Partnership attracted additional funding of £255,000 for other supporting programmes, which focused on the local production and distribution of food, such as community and school gardens and food co-operatives.