Dr Megan Blake  is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography in Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield.
She is a founder member and trustee of Good Food Doncaster and is currently working on the following initiatives and projects.

Poverty is still preventing families from eating healthily

Poverty is still preventing families from eating healthily in the 21st century.

2. Dr Megan Blake also wrote an article for The Conversation. It is about how food becomes wasted as it is processed into food.

food is wasted at every point when it's being processed

Food is wasted at every point when it’s being processed

3.  I am working on a film on social eating that features Edlington Eco that is about the value of eating together and how food helps other things to happen.  Will give you the link as it becomes available.  We will be premiering it at the Sheffield Festival of the Mind.   Dr. Blake will be talking a bit about the work behind the film at the second FOTM event  speaking alongside Robin Dunbar.    Festival of the Mind is a biannual event put on by the University of Sheffield to celebrate ideas, culture and collaboration.  http://festivalofthemind.group.shef.ac.uk  There are a lot of events and installations available for people to see throughout the week of the festival.  Our events are called Toward a National Food Service Symposium.

Good food can be simple and tasty

Good food can be simple and tasty – it just needs care and thought

4.  Sheffield  students are finishing their masters dissertations.  Two students are particularly relevant to Doncaster, Tilly Robbinson-Miles undertook an internship with Doncaster council and produce some work for the food poverty action plan.  Yasmin Price did some of her research in Doncaster.   Yasmine will provide some info on her findings once her dissertation is finished.  Tilly’s research  focuses on older people’s eating. She has some interesting findings so far.

Research has been done into elder people's eating habits once a partner dies

Research has been done into elder people’s eating habits once a partner dies

Briefly these are:
  1. When a partner dies, elderly people change their dining practices. They go from formal type eating such as eating at the table, producing cooked meals, and eating together to eating on a tray in front of the TV.  They report that they are lonely and their enjoyment of eating goes down.
  2. Many try to overcome this by engaging in eating activities with others beyond their adult children.  Those who are able to engage in some sort of reciprocal doing for type dining (e.g., having people around to eat) seemed to be the least lonely.  There is a sort of half way house that helps, which is eating together but not in a reciprocal way, such as eating together in a lunch club or senior centre.
  3. Quite a few also reported seeking behaviour–which involves going on their own to restaurants/coffee shops to find others to talk to.  This is the least satisfying, but better than sitting at home.  If we can find ways to encourage people to talk to each other in public spaces (or semi-public spaces) this will help with this.  Providing long tables where different people and groups of people sit together instead of individual ones is an example of this.  Putting signs up that say, this is a talking table etc.
  4. Encouraging people to talk to each other is really important. Where this has happened, her research finds, friendships have developed.  Also considering how to make cooking for others easier for older people is also a good thing.
  5. Dr. Blake has also  got an ongoing project with the Alexandra Rose Voucher scheme in Barnsley that is testing a place based voucher scheme. The scheme provides £5 a week for everyone on a particular street to be used at the local market or a local fruit and veg store that will accept the vouchers.  We find that the place based approach is reducing some of the stigma around accepting a voucher.  People are reporting that they are eating more fruit and veg. We have clear evidence that they are using the vouchers to purchase fruit and veg. They also report that they are trying new foods because they can experiment.  They also report that they are meeting up and travelling to the markets or the shop together so the vouchers are creating an object for people to connect through.
@GeoFoodieOrg.  You can also find her at http://Geofoodie.org
Recent Research Publications and Research Dissemination:
  • Good Food Doncaster Steering Group and Trustee
  • Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance Reference Group Member
  • Sheffield Self-Organising Action for Food Equity (SAFE) Member
  • Sheffield Food and Obesity Board Member

Preview YouTube video Feeding Affordances and Decent Helping