Birmingham as a laboratory & the Community Choices programme

This blogpost is further update from my blogpost last August on  how this city is and can contribute to global food resilience and sustainability through our Community Choices Action Research programme. 

The image at the top of this blogpost is a simple version of the programme. A more detailed one is at the end of the blogpost.

The objective of the programme is summed up in its by-line: Community Choices: Changing diets, Changing landscapes. 

This action research is about how this city is contributing and can contribute to food security, not only for ourselves, but for the whole of humanity, given the huge future challenges we’re facing.

As well as everything I mentioned in the August blogpost, we have since then put in place several projects which, together along with others, will contribute to the whole programme:

Community engagement: The impact of arts projects
The dissemination of information is key to the success of the programme as a whole. This, in order to strengthen our case to funders, we commissioned this brief video to illustrate how an arts project can disseminate information:

It was made by River Rea Films after further performances in the city centre of The Hand That Feeds, the musical about food crime.

Community engagement: Involving more communities
We’ve been awarded an Awards for All grant to generate the groundwork for community engagement in another part of the city, Bartley Green. Nick Booth is leading this project.

This is in addition to our work in Castle Vale, and that with Impact Hub Birmingham, where we are now a member.

Archetypal households project: A data research & writing commission
We’re creating a series of 10-12 archetypal Birmingham households to illustrate food and drink purchasing and consumption behaviours across different demographic groups. More about this project is here.

POS data analysis
We’re also negotiating access to some POS (point of sale) data sets. In the first instance, we will assess the kinds of information we can glean — all without breaking an data protection rules, but of course.

Scientists and others in the know . . .
We will be developing ‘what-if’ scenarios on the impact of dietary change on landscapes; i.e. on  land, soils, water and energy.

Thus, not only are we consulting with scientists on our Panel of Experts from time to time, we’re also seeking to widen our access to knowledge and expertise. Hence, for example, presentations to the Birmingham Smart Alliance and to Tim Benton’s team at Leeds University (with whom we’re talking about possible collaboration), as well as conversations and e-correspondence with Professor Molly Jahn about, among other matters, her mandate from the US Congress last December to report on food instability.

As promised above, here’s the detailed ‘bike’ info graphic outlining the whole programme:



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