Next Steps

Following-on from the  Food Values research we conducted last year we have now been granted funding from Bangor Uni to further disseminate and apply what we have learnt so far.

We have worked largely with community groups, NGO’s and food educationalists to date but now aim to engage more widely with farmers, industry and government.

Can this approach be useful to you too? Our dissemination activities are not just telling people what we found, but helping them to unpack specific issues they are concerned about. So please get in touch to discuss ideas: s.wynne-jones [at] bangor.ac.uk

Food Values was an action research project to explore the utility of values thinking for food educationalists. It was not a social-psychology experiment on whether values work or not to create behaviour change – that research already exists with encouraging findings. Hence we aimed to consider how you could put that into practise with different groups on the ground.

We wanted to know how could it work in different scenarios. How can you apply the values principles to specific contexts? What do practitioners do differently as a consequence of using this framework?

We were informed by evaluations of behaviour change and participatory approaches, aiming to be ethical and empowering, not just looking for ‘efficacy’ of change prompts. But considering, instead, what sorts of citizens and society are we producing.

Our concern is not just how to ‘message’ – but how practical interventions (community meals and events, pop-up restaurants, festivals and recipe books) embody different values and reinforce them.

Reminder on the Science:

  •         Values are like muscles – they get stronger the more you use and apply them. They are not fixed! It is important to reflect on what we value & whether we are supporting this in society.
  •         Some groups of values are mutually reinforcing but others are work against each other.
  •         We all hold ALL values, but the relative balance is what we are interested in.
  •          It is critical to be aware of difference between something we value and a characteristic we use to achieve a value: e.g. power and success as means to an end – or ends in themselves?
  •         There is a misconception that people don’t care about bigger-than-self issues; that we are all self-interested and the best way to engage people is to appeal to  self-interested traits. This is not true. To support wider civic engagement we need to celebrate and acknowledge that people are compassionate and not solely self-interested.

 

Camau Nesaf Gwerthoedd Bwyd

Yn dilyn yr ymchwil Gwerthoedd Bwyd a gynhaliwyd gennym y llynedd rydym wedi derbyn cyllid gan Brifysgol Bangor i ledaenu a chymhwyso beth rydym wedi ei ddysgu hyd yn hyn.

Rydym wedi gweithio’n galed gyda grwpiau cymunedol, cyrff anllywodraethol ac addysgwyr bwyd hyd yn hyn ond nawr rydym yn anelu at weithio mwy gyda ffermwyr, diwydiant a’r llywodraeth.

A all y dull hwn fod yn ddefnyddiol i chi hefyd? Nid dim ond dweud wrth bobl beth rydym wedi dod o hyd iddo mae ein gweithgareddau lledaenu yn ei wneud, ond eu helpu i ddadbacio materion penodol maent yn pryderu amdanynt. Felly cysylltwch i drafod syniadau: s.wynne-jones [at] bangor.ac.uk

Roedd Gwerthoedd Bwyd yn broject ymchwil gweithredu’n archwilio defnyddioldeb meddwl am werthoedd i addysgwyr bwyd. Nid arbrawf seicoleg-cymdeithasol ar p’un a yw gwerthoedd yn gweithio neu beidio i greu newid mewn ymddygiad ydoedd – mae’r ymchwil honno’n bodoli’n barod, gyda chanfyddiadau calonogol. Oherwydd hynny roeddem yn anelu at ystyried sut y gellir rhoi hynny ar waith gyda gwahanol grwpiau ar lawr gwlad.

Roeddem eisiau gwybod sut y gallai weithio mewn gwahanol sefyllfaoedd. Sut gallwch chi gymhwyso egwyddorion gwerthoedd i gyd-destunau penodol? Beth mae ymarferwyr yn ei wneud yn wahanol o ganlyniad i ddefnyddio’r fframwaith hwn?

Roeddem yn cael gwybodaeth gan werthusiadau newid ymddygiad a dulliau cyfranogol, gan anelu at fod yn foesegol a grymusol, nid dim ond chwilio am ‘effeithiolrwydd’ ysgogiadau i newid. Ond gan ystyried, yn lle, pa fath o ddinasyddion a chymdeithas rydym yn eu cynhyrchu.

Yr hyn sydd o ddiddordeb i ni yw nid dim ond sut i greu negeseuon – ond sut y gall ymyriadau ymarferol (prydau a digwyddiadau cymunedol, bwytai unnos, gwyliau a llyfrau ryseitiau) ymgorffori gwahanol werthoedd a’u hatgyfnerthu.

I’ch atgoffa o’r wyddoniaeth:

  • Mae gwerthoedd fel cyhyrau – maent yn cryfhau po fwyaf y defnyddiwch nhw. Nid ydynt yn sefydlog. Mae’n bwysig adfyfyrio ar yr hyn yr ydym yn rhoi gwerth arno a ph’un a ydym yn cefnogi hyn mewn cymdeithas.
  • Mae rhai grwpiau o werthoedd yn atgyfnerthu ei gilydd ond mae eraill yn gweithio yn erbyn ei gilydd.
  • Mae gan bawb y gwerthoedd I GYD, ond yn y cydbwysedd perthynol y mae ein diddordeb ni.
  • Mae’n hollbwysig ein bod yn ymwybodol o’r gwahaniaeth rhwng rhywbeth yr ydym yn rhoi gwerth arno a nodwedd a ddefnyddiwn i gyrraedd gwerth: e.e. grym a llwyddiant fel ffordd o gyflawni rhywbeth – neu ai grym a llwyddiant yw’r hyn y ceisir ei gyflawni?
  • Mae yna gamdybiaeth nad yw pobl yn poeni am faterion sy’n fwy na nhw’u hunain; ein bod i gyd yn hunanol ac mai’r ffordd orau o ymwneud â phobl yw apelio at nodweddion hunanol. Nid yw hyn yn wir. Er mwyn cefnogi ymwneud cymdeithasol ehangach mae angen inni ddathlu a chydnabod bod pobl yn drugarog ac nad ydynt yn gwbl hunanol.

 

 

 

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Welsh Values

A report published by the Common Cause Foundation (Perceptions Matter: the Common Cause UK Values Survey) finds that across the UK people of all ages attach greater importance to compassionate values than selfish values. But this is particularly true of people living in Wales.

But people living in Wales are also remarkable in another way. They are the most likely to overestimate the importance that other people attach to selfish values. This is important because the study found that the more people underestimate the significance that others attach to compassionate values, the less likely they are to have voted in recent elections, the lower their intentions to volunteer or support the work of a charity, and the more alienated they are prone to feel. In other words, this misconception may be holding the people of Wales back from mounting collective responses to major challenges – from addressing health inequalities or accommodating the needs of future generations, for example.

Read Tom Crompton’s full blog post at: http://www.clickonwales.org/2016/02/perceptions-matter/

Human Kindness

George Monbiot comments on new research by the Common Cause Foundation which shows clear links with our Food Values project and offers a hopeful take on the future of humanity…

“Humans are ultra-social: possessed of an enhanced capacity for empathy, an unparalleled sensitivity to the needs of others, a unique level of concern about their welfare and an ability to create moral norms that generalise and enforce these tendencies.”

Read more here…

Food, values and power

by Jane Powell

In September, I was invited to speak in a debate about food and land at the Small is Beautiful festival [www.smallisfestival.org]. This annual event, which commemorates the work of economist and visionary thinker Fritz Schumacher, was held at the Centre for Alternative Technology and brought together activists, artists, scientists and others to help shape a new future based on development around human needs.

The Food and Land Debate had four speakers on the theme of the commons and the corporate sector, and I spoke last, having promised them a cheery ending. First was Patrick Mulvany of Practical Action (the new name of the Intermediate Technology Development Group, based directly on the work of Schumacher) who talked about seeds and the trend for excessive corporate control of our genetic resources through breeders’ rights and patenting. Quoting Jose Luis Vivero Pol [http://www.heathwoodpress.com/food-as-a-commons-a-shift-we-need-to-disrupt-the-neoliberal-food-paradigm-jose-luis-vivero-pol/] he said:

“Let’s make ‘food as a commons’ a subversive meme (an element of the counter-hegemonic culture that replicates, mutates and spreads from one civic food action to another) to substantiate the transformational narrative to confront the dominant mainstream discourse of ‘food as a commodity’.

Let’s make commons food common.

Let’s commonify the commodity…”

Next, Humphrey Lloyd of the Land Workers Alliance, himself a small-scale grower, gave a potted history of land ownership in the UK, covering the Enclosures, mechanization and the Common Agricultural Policy, ending with the fascinating suggestion that if everyone in the UK chipped in with £460, we could put the entire land area into public ownership and create the food system we want.

Neils Corfield from the Permaculture Association brought home the perils of corporate neglect of the commons with a beautifully illustrated talk on the impacts of industrial farming on soil, air, water and biodiversity, concluding that ‘food is not a production problem’, and that the big business is engaged in the wrong sort of intensification.

Then it was me. I had left myself just a few days to work out how our food values work fitted with the distinction between the commons and corporate control, but I was sure there was the germ of a good idea in there. Sure enough, when I thought about the values associated with the two approaches to food, something extra popped out beyond the obvious comment that the commons is about community, benevolence and universalism, while the corporate sector is about power, status and security.

The key to finding the positive message is I think in the observation, well documented in the social psychology literature, that our values shift according to the conversation we are having, or the setting we are in. So if we are gardening with friends at the allotment, or we visit a farmers market and talk to the producers, or we share a meal with a community group, we will engage values of sharing, compassion, generosity and benevolence. If on the other hand – maybe even on the same day – we visit a supermarket, with its array of tempting goods, canned music and fluorescent lights, we are likely to focus on price and appearance, and the main values engaged will be those to do with personal gain, security, status and hedonism.

This works both ways of course, but it does mean that even the most hardened corporate consumer, once placed in a setting where the ethos of the commons prevails, is likely to start seeing things differently. Picking strawberries, say, on a sunny day with a bunch of schoolchildren makes it that little bit harder to worry about money and whether we are have the latest smartphone. Shopping at a farmers market puts us in mind of quality and provenance, and we don’t look so closely at the price label.

So those of us who work in the food commons are actually holding a lot of power: the power to give other people a transformative experience, even a life-changing one. That is important, because it’s easy to despair when we see the size of the corporate food sector. It has shaped the thinking of a generation and seemingly carried all before it. But we need to remember that the corporations only have as much power as the public gives them, and when we demonize them we give away even more of our power, leading to the burnout and despair that can so easily overtake the enthusiastic activist. Maybe we could instead remember that the corporate sector, like the commons, is run by people, and people can always change.

It’s up to us, I think, to align with our our deepest values and find our power again. This is the power of authenticity and integrity and it is surely worth trying. As Margaret Mead famously said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Good Food For All

Why is food such a fundamental issue? Because it becomes part of us, we ingest it. It’s not like anything else except water. There’s no doubt that food helps us grow and heal. It’s a life force…

Rosa Robinson reports back on the IWA Senedd Paper discussion (24 June 2015) Good Food for All, a paper written and presented by Professor Kevin Morgan (Cardiff University)

https://storify.com/rosarobinson/goodfoodforall

Watch a summary of Professor Morgan’s paper here:

https://audioboom.com/boos/3311679-iwa-podcast-good-food-for-all

And read the full paper here:

http://www.clickonwales.org/wp-content/uploads/SenneddPaper3_v3.pdf