Hungry for change: the food banking industry in Australia

Booth, Sue and Whelan, Jillian 2014, Hungry for change: the food banking industry in Australia, British food journal, vol. 116, no. 9, pp. 1392-1404, doi: 10.1108/BFJ-01-2014-0037.

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Title Hungry for change: the food banking industry in Australia
Author(s) Booth, Sue
Whelan, JillianORCID iD for Whelan, Jillian
Journal name British food journal
Volume number 116
Issue number 9
Start page 1392
End page 1404
Total pages 13
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Place of publication Bingley, Eng.
Publication date 2014
ISSN 1758-4108
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Food Science & Technology
Food poverty
Food banks
Carol Bacchi
Corporate food system efficiency
Summary Purpose – Over the last 20 years, food banks in Australia have expanded nationwide and are a well-organised “industry” operating as a third tier of the emergency food relief system. The purpose of this paper is to overview the expansion and operation of food banks as an additional self-perpetuating “tier” in the response to hunger.

Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws on secondary data sourced from the internet; as well as information provided by Foodbank Australia and Food Bank South Australia (known as Food Bank SA) to outline the history, development and operation of food banks. Food banking is then critically analysed by examining the nature and framing of the social problems and policies that food banking seeks to address. This critique challenges the dominant intellectual paradigm that focuses on
solving problems; rather it questions how problem representation may imply certain understandings.

Findings – The issue of food banks is framed as one of food re-distribution and feeding hungry people; however, the paper argue that “the problem” underpinning the food bank industry is one of maintaining food system efficiency. Food banks continue as a neo-liberal mechanism to deflect query, debate and structural action on food poverty and hunger. Consequently their existence does little to ameliorate the problem of food poverty.

Practical implications – New approaches and partnerships with stakeholders remain key challenges for food banks to work more effectively to address food poverty.

Social implications – While the food bank industry remains the dominant solution to food poverty in Australia, debate will be deflected from the underlying structural causes of hunger.

Originality/value – This paper contributes to the limited academic literature and minimal critique of the food bank industry in Australia. It proposes that the rapid expansion of food banks is a salient marker of government and policy failure to address food poverty.
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/BFJ-01-2014-0037
Field of Research 111708 Health and Community Services
Socio Economic Objective 920411 Nutrition
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
Population Health
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