In the ‘Tools for Empowerment’ project we have been co-​designing tools to capture and tell tools about food and food poverty. During this project the young co-​designers wanted to explore local food in Darwen. Leapfrog worked with Food Power with input from young people to design a new tool to empower people to explore food. After much discussion we designed the tool to have a menu of 12 mini research challenges and a big map of Darwen inside.

On the day the young people divided into 3 groups each looking at a certain area of Darwen and (accompanied by Leapfrog and Food Power’s Empowerment Officer Ben Pearson) walked around Darwen interviewing shop keepers and shoppers and researching what food was available in their town. They loved the fun challenge of buying the heaviest bag of sweets for a pound and the £2 Healthy Food Challenge which showed how difficult it was to buy cheap healthy food. Feedback from the group was they felt empowered by the tool as they could choose which activities to do. They became more confident as they went along when it came to interviewing shopkeepers and shoppers who were only too happy to stop for a chat. The team used a large table in Weatherspoons to return to in-​between Food Safair challenges. Once the Safari was complete the young people transposed their findings onto a large map of Darwen. 

A Channel 4 news cameraman filmed parts of the food safari and the Social Affairs Editor Jackie Long interviewed members of Blackburn with Darwen’s Food Partnership Tia and Corey who understand food poverty and are determined to do something about it through campaigning. This was featured on the Channel 4 news as young ambassadors including Tia and Corey handed in their #Right2Food Charter at 10 Downing Street with Dame Emma Thompson. The clip can be seen here:‑1–6m-foodbank-parcels-in-one-year-rise-of-20-per-cent

Leapfrog’s aim is for the tools for Food Stories can be used to capture stories about food poverty which can support food activists and experts by lived experience of food poverty to actively campaign for change. The Food Safari tool can be downloaded as part of the Tools for Food Stories Toolbox.