Dr Rebecca Sandover
Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK
I take an engaged researcher approach to work with partners on knowledge co-production and knowledge exchange focused on community food projects and sustainable food policy change.
Currently part of The University of Exeter team leading research into The Cornwall Food Foundation’s ‘Food for Change’ programme that seeks to support people who are unemployed or economically inactive back into work, training or volunteering through supported food related activities. Working with Professor Katrina Brown, I have been collaborating with partners to explore how the programme is creating change in participants' lives. I'm using a range of methods including Focus Groups, Photovoice, Partner interviews, participant observation and more. For more information on the programme see The Cornwall Food Foundation's youtube films.
In recent years I have been taking forward PhD expertise by investigating the processes shaping the emergence of Food Exeter, a Sustainable Food City partnership that connects food producers, civil society groups and policy makers. I take a Scholar-Activist approach in exploring Social Food Networks and working alongside Food Exeter to develop food change. I am now a Trustee of Food Exeter.
2018 - FOOD EXETER FAIR ACCESS TO FOOD PROJECT
Worked with Food Exeter's working group ‘Fair Access to Food’ to carry out research to understand what food poverty and household food insecuritylooks like in Exeter. As there was little food poverty data available in Exeter ‘Fair Access to Food’ undertook a year of research to establish some base line evidence and build understandings of the causes of food poverty and potential steps to address these issues in Exeter. This included interviews with clients of Exeter Foodbank and culminated with a 'Food Poverty Summit' in Exeter's Guildhall in November 2018. Rebecca presetned initial findings from the interviews with foodbank clients.
Our co written report is available here: FOOD POVERTY IN EXETER: STEPS FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
Challenges in accessing nutritious food affect those in poverty, crisis and those experiences general hardship. Food Poverty and Food Insecurity are terms used to cover all these circumstances.
2017 - A FOOD STRATEGY FOR EXETER: REDISCOVERING AND REDEVELOPING LOCALISED FOOD SYSTEMS
This project used collaborative and deliberative research methods to co-produce strategies for emerging local food networks that can contribute to a range of sustainability-related environmental, social and economic goals. With a focus on the processes and practices of the network, this ESRC funded project ran a community focused workshop, Feeding Exeter, hosted on a local farm, which served as a mechanism for network members to feedback on the draft Food Exeter strategy and consider key obstacles to building local food and just food capacity. This project used deliberative research methods to co-develop strategies for developing effective local food networks that can contribute to a range of sustainability-related environmental, social and economic goals.
- Download the report Food Exeter 2017: a food strategy for Exeter: rediscovering and redeveloping localised food systems (.pdf)
2019 - WELLCOME CENTRE FUNDED PROJECT: DEVON SUSTAINABLE FOOD NETWORKS
I am leading this project that is based on insider, practitioner and academic knowledge of the challenges sustainable food cities face, as well as understanding the potential for bringing together seemingly conflicting food agendas; those focused on food poverty, diet-related ill health and boosting local and sustainable food cultures. Working with a number of key Devon partners, we aim to build capacity in Devon sustainable food networks by mapping food programmes in the city regions of Exeter and Plymouth and rural South Hams, to transform partners’ programmes by identifying and categorising existing activities to transform responses to food poverty, public health issues, sustainable ‘food work’ and research in the region. The project partners will collaborate to identify opportunities to streamline often competing public health/food poverty/local food agendas, enhancing health, environmental and food cultures across Devon and set strategic visions/agendas in food network research.
Previous Postdoctoral Research:
I was an Associate Research Fellow on Prof. Stephen Hinchliffe's Contagion project that investigated the diffusion of ideas and cultural change through the means of social media and explored such diffusions within the financial sector and through the spread of disease.
I have completed my PhD at The University of Exeter that researched cultural Allotment practices. This was undertaken on two allotment sites in Somerset. I am active within both Geography's NAMBIO research group as well as The RGS-IBG Social Cultural Geography Research Group where I was a postgraduate rep between 2011-2013 and am now the Conference Officer.
Broad Research Interests:
- Social Food Networks
- Place based policies
- Collaborative and participatory research
- Visceral Learning
- Relational Materialism
- Alternative Food Networks
- Community Engagement
- Social Media
PhD (University of Exeter)
BA (Hons) (University of Exeter)
Research group links
Currently involved in 3 projects in Devon and Cornwall:
- Researching The Food for Change programmein Cornwall. A project led by The Cornwall Food Foundation that seeks to help people into work, volunteering or training through food growing, cooking and trading activities. Using an Action researcher approach plus ethnographic methods, this project is exploring the change the programme is creating in participant’s lives.
- Working with Food Exeter a Sustainable Food City as a scholar-activist working alongside Food Exeter to develop food change. This project uses collaborative methods to co-develop strategies for emerging local food networks that can contribute to a range of sustainability-related environmental, social and economic goals.
- Investigating the potential for a Devon-wide Sustainable Food Network I am working with local partners and The Sustainable Food Cities network to build capacity in Devon for a sustainable food partnership via funding from The Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health.This project is based on insider, practitioner and academic knowledge of the challenges sustainable food cities face, as well as understanding the potential for bringing together seemingly conflicting food agendas; those focused on food poverty, diet-related ill health and boosting local and sustainable food cultures. The project partners are collaborating to identify opportunities to streamline often competing public health/food poverty/local food agendas, enhancing health, environmental and food cultures across Devon and set strategic visions/agendas in food network research.
Thesis Title: Doing Food-Knowing Food: An exploration of allotment practices and the production of knowledge through visceral engagement-
Funded by Geography, University of Exeter, bursary. This has led to teaching opportunities throughout the Geography department, including achieving a LTHE qualification.
This research focused on two case-studies in Somerset which directs the lens of enquiry onto participants growing their own produce, as part of Local Food Projects. Through this I investigated- How practical knowledge is enacted through embodied practices on the plots- How this study extends knowledge of material, visceral encounters -How allotment practices explore alternative food practices through emplaced, visceral methods -How such an investigation extends understandings of agency in nature-society relations -How qualitative research practices can be extended to include cooking methods.
RGS Conference 2011 - Community Groups Growing Veg: Re-skilling and Reconnection through Allotments
Download the presentation
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