Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Developing community leadership for action on affordable, healthy, and sustainable food issues

Beardmore, Amy; Jones, Mat; Hills, Sarah; Ismail, Sanda


Profile Image

Amy Beardmore
Senior Lecturer in Public Health

Profile Image

Mathew Jones
Professor of Public Health

Sanda Ismail
Senior Lecturer in Public Health


In the context of the current cost of living crisis, many activists are working within their communities to promote access to affordable, healthy, and sustainable food. Yet there are very few opportunities share experiences, ideas and resources between such community food champions, and to develop the skills needed to create change. Our research sought to examine the process and impacts of the Soil Association’s My Food Community (MFC). This is a community leadership programme intended to create ‘a network for good food champions to learn, connect and take action’.
MFC is delivered through a range of self-guided learning materials, online training sessions and regular virtual peer meetups. The first run of the programme attracted 39 participants from a wide range of backgrounds across the UK. Interviewees felt that the programme helped expand their networks, draw upon inspirational practice, apply collaboration and leadership skills, and promote their work with a greater sense of confidence and kudos. Six months after completion of the course respondents reported a range of positive consequences including improvements in their ability to act as advocates, to initiate and to help others take action on food issues in their communities of interest. In addition, the initiative raises important questions about using the ‘language of leadership’ for community food activism and how grass roots activists share good practice with their peers.


Beardmore, A., Jones, M., Hills, S., & Ismail, S. (2023, May). Developing community leadership for action on affordable, healthy, and sustainable food issues. Presented at Our Food, Our Environment, University of Portsmouth

Presentation Conference Type Speech
Conference Name Our Food, Our Environment
Conference Location University of Portsmouth
Start Date May 19, 2023
Deposit Date Oct 1, 2023
Public URL