Goal 2: Zero Hunger

SDG 2 aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Browse books and journal articles relating to this SDG below and find out more on the UN Sustainable Development Goals website.
 

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

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This chapter extends an invitation to academics within business schools to reconsider their engagement with research, advocating for more in-depth collaboration with community and grassroots organizations. Drawing inspiration from ethnographic research conducted at the Free Food Store, the chapter introduces the concept of ‘activist performativity’ as an alternative scholarship approach that melds critical praxis, activism, research and teaching, with the overarching goal of fostering a more socially just and sustainable society. The chapter is grounded in the author’s personal journey to transform himself into a critical scholar bridging multiple realms and serving as a living example of activist performativity. This chapter aims to inspire collective change, reshaping the often alienating research practices within the academic sphere.

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This chapter delves into the symbolic layer of the Free Food Store by dissecting faith-related discourses and practices. Utilizing a rich array of sources, including organizational documents, interviews and observational data, the chapter unearths the complex interplay between the politics and morality inherent in food rescue efforts via charitable organizations. It sheds light on how faith-driven initiatives carry a transformative potential, yet face impediments posed by the prevailing neoliberal policies in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand. The chapter argues that a nuanced examination, which questions the monolithic conceptions of both neoliberalism and faith, is pivotal for comprehending the significance of ‘alternatives’ in addressing food insecurity while also acknowledging the inherent tensions, challenges and prospects within this complex landscape.

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Within the global context of the stark contrast between food poverty and food waste, and the growing momentum in food rescue and redistribution initiatives, this chapter delves into the intricate interplay between academic and activist roles. Drawing on the author’s first-hand experiences at the Free Food Store, and through ‘writing differently’, the chapter explores pivotal moments where these multiple roles and identities intersect and sometimes clash. Additionally, it extends an invitation to envision and cultivate an activist academia that collaborates with communities to ‘change the world’. This text serves as an ongoing, intense dialogue between the author’s activist and academic selves, addressing the critical question of what needs to be done in response to urgent societal challenges. It also represents an earnest endeavour to think, write and, most significantly, take action in a distinctive manner, rooted in embodied experiences, aspirations and imaginations.

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This chapter offers insight into the author’s background and motivation, shedding light on his involvement with the Free Food Store, a pioneering food rescue organization that provides free food to the community. It commences with a description of the author’s role as a critical management and organization scholar in business schools across three countries, detailing the rationale behind his choices to undertake ethnographic research in the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Subsequently, the chapter provides a comprehensive portrayal of the Free Food Store. It also furnishes key statistics on food poverty in the national context and highlights the distinctive features that set the Free Food Store apart from food banks and other food charities, emphasizing its significant societal contributions.

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Imagining Alternatives

Consumerism, unsustainable growth, waste and inequalities continue to ail societies across the globe, but creative collectives have been tackling these issues at a grassroots level.

Based on an autoethnographic study about a free food store in Aotearoa New Zealand, this book presents a first-hand account of how a community is organized around surplus food to deal with food poverty, while also helping the reader to see through the complexity that brings the free food store to life.

Examining how alternative economies and relations emerge from these community solutions, the author shows it is possible to think, act and organize differently within and beyond capitalist dynamics.

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In this concluding chapter, based on his engagement at the Free Food Store, the author reflects on the critical roles played by faith, the use value of food and labour, and the complex web of power relations in providing valuable insights into the realm of alternative organizing. Through a dialogue with strategies of social change and the inherent paradoxes emerging through the operation of the shop, a comprehensive analysis is presented, offering an in-depth understanding of the possibilities inherent in the Free Food Store as a source of inspiration for envisioning and practising alternative organizing for social change. The chapter culminates by envisioning a vital role for the university as an anchor institution, one that fosters the creation and bridging of infrastructures for co-imagining alternative futures. This vision is realized through the collaborative efforts of grassroots and community organizations, actively addressing the pressing challenges of our society on the ground.

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This chapter engages with the notion of freedom and employs Michel Foucault’s ‘dispositive’ concept to present an insightful framework for comprehending the intricate power relations that unfold within the realm of the Free Food Store. The dispositive concept sheds light on the complex interactions between neoliberalism, community, faith and sustenance, ultimately revealing the dynamics that grant individuals the paradoxical experience of being both free and disciplined, as observed in the daily practices and discourses at the Free Food Store. As a result, the chapter offers a non-essentialist perspective that enhances our understanding of the multifaceted discourses, practices and institutional forces at play within the Free Food Store. This framework enables us to decipher the intricacies of how the Free Food Store operates and mediates the conditions of ‘disciplined freedom’ within an alternative-substitute organization.

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This chapter, informed by insights from Marxian political economy and the diverse economies framework, offers a compelling exploration of how alternative organizational structures manifest within the complex web of diverse economic practices. Specifically, it highlights how prevailing economic dynamics create opportunities for the emergence of noncapitalist modes of alternative organization, as exemplified by the Free Food Store. Central to this analysis is the pivotal role played by use value of both food and labour in mediating alternative economic, symbolic and political relationships. Furthermore, the chapter unravels the relational nature of diverse economic practices, unveiling a noncapitalist parasitic alternative organization that thrives within and for the community. This chapter introduces the concept of ‘use value’ as a vital theoretical tool for dissecting the intricate interplay between capitalist and noncapitalist economic practices from a critical political economy perspective.

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Media and political attention relating to people seeking asylum has increased, particularly during the lead up to and now in the aftermath of Brexit. Practitioners are faced with the challenge of providing services to meet the needs of a more culturally plural service user group. This chapter deals with critical practice with children and families seeking refuge or having refugee status in the UK because of major threats to their welfare and lives in their countries of origin. It emphasises anti-oppressive care rather than control and reminds practitioners of the universal needs of children and families, including speaking out against the violation of human rights and thereby staying true to principles of social justice and service to humanity.

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This chapter highlights how practice with children and families, where there might be child welfare/safety concerns, has become more proceduralised and bureaucratised, with monitoring and surveillance often dominating rather than genuine help and support. It is a move from a concern with therapy and welfare to surveillance and control and involves completing bureaucracy speedily rather than relationship building. Such comments equally apply to the recent emergence of contextual safeguarding of children and young people beyond the family home. Nevertheless, critical social work possibilities remain in the form of ‘critical child protection’, a humane practice with children and families which addresses issues such as poverty and inequality which impinge on parenting.

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