IFSTAL Workshop 3: Methods for Analysing Food Systems

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On the 7th and 8th February 2018 we held the third IFSTAL workshop at locations across our different sites. This workshop was aimed at using participatory models and tools with the purpose of developing consensus and agreement around particular topics.

At Oxford, Reading and London the workshop was designed as a Game Jam and used a game perspective to explore actor roles, interactions, and environments. Games have the unique potential to challenge, inspire, engage, and help people explore the complexity around food.

The Oxford Game Jam resulted in two nearly-complete games, with both teams having thought through the systems map, the game mechanics, and the learning outcomes of each concept. Games included, The Meat Lobby game based on the implementation of a Meat Tax (click here to read more). At Reading, Four teams competed against each other to see who could come up with a workable game in the short time available. Everyone succeeded in creating something they should be proud of, and some participants were inspired to take it further and see if they could design a more refined game in their own time. The London Game Jam was jam-packed(!) and a lot of fun. Most of the participants felt they needed more time to develop their games, but felt that through the process of working on the game they had learnt a lot about the issue they were tackling – for example actors and power structures within the challenges they were exploring. We had 4 games, made by groups of four people from each of the 4 London institutions, City, LSHTM, SOAS and RVC.












At Warwick, we had a special talk from Dr Thijs van Rens, Department of Economics, who presented his recent work on the extent to which higher obesity rates among low-income consumers are due to price differentials between healthy and unhealthy food. In this talk we explored the use of US home scan data (consumers scan the barcodes of groceries they buy after they get home), in exploring price differentials between healthy and unhealthy food. The study found that relative prices are biased against low-income families, and that this difference in relative prices explains about half of the difference in diet. But how do we explain these observations? What interventions can mitigate this? Thijs and his team examined this food system issue and suggested a number of policy interventions to help mitigate against social inequalities and deprivation in particular regions of the US.



Blog by Kelly Reed, Education Coordinator and Teaching Fellow, University of Warwick


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Find out ways to get involved with IFSTAL, join our Food Systems Community, or contact us for further information.



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