Civil society organisations (CSOs) are often conspicuously absent in policy discussions and strategic planning about food security and sustainability. However, findings from Rachael’s own study of UK-based CSOs indicate that these groups make a variety of important contributions towards innovation in both policy and practice.
In this seminar, she will draw attention to the disconnection between the narrowly constrained treatment of CSOs within policy circles, and the broad range of different ways that they actually engage with and influence policy and market conditions. She will provide evidence of the mechanisms through which CSOs drive change and by conceptualising these drivers within the framework of transitions to sustainability. Finally, she will argue for particular forms of support to be made available to these groups by funders and policy-makers.
Rachael is currently employed as a Research Fellow at SPRU, the University of Sussex, where she is analysing efforts to improve sustainability and developing new strategies to accelerate progress in European city-regions. Since 2012, Rachael has been building a professional network of food researchers, educators and activists known as the Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network (BSUFN).
Rachael also works freelance within the UK food and agriculture sector as a consultant researcher and project manager. Her clientele have included the Centre for Food Policy (City University, London), Unilever plc’s Sustainable Agriculture team, Heineken NV, the Guardian Hay Festival, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Food Ethics Council, among others. In addition to her recent work, she has a portfolio of cross-sector sustainability-related project work.
Rachael also joined the FRC for a Food Bites to give us a snapshot snapshot of what the current issues in the food system are and what civil society organisations and academics could be doing to work towards solutions.