The Food Problem – Volunteer?
My name is Chris Maughan and I’m a third year English Literature PhD researching the representations of environmental activism in contemporary literature and film. I also run two food related projects on campus: the Warwick Allotment Society and the Uni Food Co-op. As president of the Warwick Allotment Society I was fortunate to be the co-recipient of two awards this summer, the ‘West Midland Local Food Hero’ award and the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ Royal Horticultural Society award. These projects are very much at the heart of food activism on campus, providing access to low-impact food production and consumption systems, as well as a platform for engagement with the politics of food both within the University itself and far beyond.
Participation by postgraduate researchers in these projects is low, which is understandable given our time constraints. However, these projects (and other similar socially-engaged projects) provide unexpected benefits which many may overlook. Food is a simple way into innumerable complex issues, many of which many be relevant to a researcher. Both are also actually not that demanding in terms of time - an hour a week volunteering at either the allotment or the food coop is of massive value to each project, and can pay dividends in terms of exercise, relaxation and contact with the lovely people that volunteer with us.
Most important of all, food is often at the centre of many of the world’s biggest problems and grievous injustices. If you have a problem with the way modern the consumption and production of food affects those that grow it, eat it, or the environment, this is your chance to engage (oh, and the food is tasty too)!
The Warwick Allotment Society meet on the campus allotment from 2pm every Wednesday and the Uni Food Co-op trade between 12-5pm every Tuesday in the SU Atrium. We look forward to seeing you there!
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you’ve any questions regarding either project or find us online.
Photo credits: JourneyWoman