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Who decides what’s in my fridge?

What influences the food choices we make?

‘Who Decides What’s in my Fridge?’ was a participatory research project to explore what shapes our food habits and find out how our access to affordable, nutritious food can be improved.

The decisions we make about food – what, when and how we eat –aren’t as simple as we might think. These decisions are influenced by many factors, some of which are outside of our control, including the location of shops, access to transport or advertising that targets particular groups of people, including young people and low-income families. KWMC wanted to find out what influences food habits in Knowle West so we can support local people to make the changes they want to see in their area.

The Questions

Some of the questions we explore are:

  • How do our local environments influence the choices that we make about food?
  • In what ways do different households struggle to access nutritious food?
  • What barriers, beyond income, are there to accessing affordable, nutritious food in the local area and how can we overcome them?
  • In what ways are food habits shaped by cultures and communities?
  • How does food marketing affect diet and consumption of food?
The Research

We used creative and interactive methods to discover the answers to these questions and find out what people think. Our team of eight Junior Digital Producers designed and built a ‘fridge’ that collects information about the barriers to accessing affordable, nutritious food in Knowle West. The data collected using the fridge will help us to build a clear picture of what influences people’s food choices and what they would like to change.

Our research work was guided by local residents: we held an interactive event called ‘FridgeRaiders’ to showcase the work so far and gather input from a wider audience.

As part of the project, artist Anne-Marie Culhane brought a pop-up ‘Shed on Wheels’ to the area to host Taste of Knowle West: two days of activities and a local produce competition. The Shed on Wheels is an ‘upcycled’ electric milk float, devised by Anne-Marie for a project in Plymouth and brought to Bristol for the first time this summer.

The project was part of the Productive Margins research programme and is a collaboration between Knowle West Media Centre, Single Parent Action Network, Coexist at Hamilton House and the University of Bristol. Productive Margins is a five-year programme with the University of Bristol and Cardiff University that aims to ‘co-produce new forms of engagement in decision-making, not just across politics and policy but also the arts.

Made in Knowle West

On a sunny May afternoon a group of adults and children made their way from Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) to the nearby Springfield Allotments. We were taking part in a Bristol Food Connections workshop to forage for local ingredients and learn how to turn these into summer drinks. The gathering grew throughout the afternoon until there were...

Made in Knowle West event

Earlier in the project…

For one week in April 2015, a group of women from Knowle West kept a visual ‘food diary’, taking photos the ingredients they use to cook and the resulting meals. On 5th May, they were joined by professional chef Oliver Pratt to cook, talk, taste and reflect:

  • Are the ingredients we want easily accessible to us?
  • Are they affordable?
  • Do ethical considerations, like buying local, play a part in our food choices?
  • Is it possible to be healthy on a budget?

The Cook n’ Converse: who decides what’s in your fridge?’ event was part of Bristol Food Connections.

Productive Margins is a five-year programme with the University of Bristol and Cardiff University that aims to ‘co-produce new forms of engagement in decision-making, not just across politics and policy but also the arts.’  The organisations involved are: 3G’s Development Trust, Building the Bridge, Coexist, Deaf Access Cymru, Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO), Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC), SPAN (Single Parent Action Network), the Southville Centre and Southville Community Development Association (SCDA).

Cook 'n Converse event, 5th May 2015

Excerpts from Mary's Food Diary

Excerpts from Pearl's Food Diary

Excerpts from Denise's Food Diary

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
+44 (0) 117 903 0444

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