Over two previous workshops Leapfrog supported young activists and teenage experts by experience of food poverty in Lancashire to co-design tools to capture stories about food and food poverty. This third workshop took place at Food Nation, a North East Social Enterprise passionate about food and health delivering cooking skills, school food education & catering. Four experts by experience of food poverty from Byker in Newcastle took part, along with Nicola and Vicki from Food Nation.
After introductions the groupdiscussed what makes a good story and the best way to empower people to tell stories about food. Topics that came up time and time again were the power of nostalgia and reminiscence to help people open up about their memories and experiences of food. The group clearly had vast experience of supporting communities from Byker. From telling people about where and when they could buy discounted food, access free meals or how to cook a nutritious meal using leftovers or a few ingredients from the Food Bank they told us how they regularly give practical help and support to their community in a non-judgemental way. They do this through getting to know people over a chat and emphasising with their circumstances which can lead to deeper conversations, ‘how are you managing?’, What do you need? Where can we send you for help?’
We introduced the group to the tools the young experts and activists had come up with in Lancashire. The card deck of questions tohelp start conversations about food and food poverty provoked strong reactions to some of the questions which some of the experts said could be rude or insensitive to ask on a first meeting. The experts helped to edit and add to the questions. The idea of a card deck of cards of photos of local foods which help to start conversations and sharing of memories went down well. The group contributed ideas for local foods such as Pease Pudding.
By the end of the workshop the group had come up with ideas for new tools such as a zine tool to help people share their own food story and bust myths, a recipe building tool and a shopping/cooking tips tool. Leapfrog left with assurances of developing all the tools and coming back to Newcastle with the new versions to continue working together. The new Food Stories toolbox will be online in time for the Food Power Conference in Newcastle in June.