As food-banking grows, who benefits? A critical dialogue between America and Manchester
OnthePlatform – Following a discussion event around food policy held in Ancoats last November, and in the run-up to Manchester’s Green Summit, Charlotte Spring outlines key arguments from two influential researchers around the connections between food poverty, charity and policy.
It’s always a pleasure to invite a stranger to your city to share views from other places. But the pleasure is tinged with the frustration of knowing that things are not necessarily moving forward in the ways you’d like to convey to visitors.
Bridge 5 Mill in Ancoats felt an apt venue to host a discussion event about poverty, food charity and the responsibilities of business and government.
My great-grandfather’s 1940 novel about the rise of Labour politics in ‘Cottonpolis’-era Manchester depicted the Peterloo Massacre’s trampling of protest for ‘bread and liberty’, as well as a grim scene of a soup kitchen in Stevenson Square for people not “acquainted with poverty but overwhelmed by it”.
I couldn’t help but trace connections between the long history of Manchester’s inequalities, its geography of gentrifying industrial neighbourhoods, the swelling numbers of homeless people in the northern quarter needing the same soup kitchens that my great-grandfather’s protagonist believed would be rendered redundant by redistributive policy, and this beautifully-renovated mill, now home to a warren of organisations creating positive change.
Speaking at the food-bank event was American researcher Andy Fisher and Sheffield University researcher Hannah Lambie-Mumford.