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Overcoming narrative barriers to food systems change

Friday 15th September 2023 – Bristol

From rapidly rising prices, to a spiralling nutrition crisis, to empty supermarket shelves and queues at food banks while tonnes go to waste, the fundamental dysfunction of our food system has never been more obvious. Despite this, and the existence of many inspiring practical alternatives, it still seems difficult to imagine a fundamentally different system gaining popular and political support. While many see the need for change, embedded cultural narratives preclude widespread belief in the viability of alternatives.

Land Workers Alliance, Future Narratives Lab and Stir to Action are convening a special one day workshop to start the process of understanding and overcoming the narrative barriers to food systems change. In particular we aim to develop a strategy for expanding the reach and appeal of the principles of ‘Food Sovereignty’ – in which the rights of those who produce, distribute and consume food are held as more important than the interests of corporations and profits.

On the day, along with setting out our longer term ambitions and approach to this challenge, we aim to:

  • Map out and define the main different frames through which food is discussed and understood in contemporary UK culture
  • Analyse how these connect to and reinforce deeper narratives that act as obstacles to alternatives, by appealing to specific cultural values
  • Explore the best examples representing Food Sovereignty principles
  • Work together to tie these examples into proposed alternative narratives, that can effectively combat and replace the incumbents, as a foundation for building practical change

Who will be there

  • Representatives from organisations supporting food systems change across a range of areas
  • Experts, policymakers and practitioners in food systems, and in relevant domains such as climate, health, nutrition, and workers rights
  • Food Sovereignty activists and campaigners
  • Narrative and communications specialists

If you are interested in attending this workshop, receiving the outputs, or being involved in future work – get in touch here.