A New Food Diplomacy: Participatory Action Research Findings of a Food System Approach to Public Health Nutrition

  • Amber Wheeler

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis begins by problematising divergence in the food system. It then asks
    whether greater convergence can facilitate better public health nutrition and positive food system change. It starts by combining production and place of consumption in the form of calculating the Welsh and UK population’s fruit and vegetable requirement. It explains that the requirement was shared with 178 stakeholders; mainly producers and support organisations in Wales, who took part in 39 semistructured interviews and 12 workshops. The in-depth discussion of barriers and enablers to fruit and vegetable production and consumption that this stimulated is discussed in detail. One of the barriers outlined is a need for a more systemic approach and for a broader range of food system stakeholders to be involved. The researcher’s involvement, through Participatory Action Research, with the development of Peas Please, an initiative advocating a systemic approach to increasing vegetable consumption in the UK, is then discussed. The activities and food system approach of Peas Please are reflected upon, including the importance of building relationships. The thesis finds that convergence has potential to deliver positive systemic change, and through Peas Please and the use of the fruit and vegetable requirement stakeholders from different paradigms have come together to experiment within this ‘space of possibility’. The analysis suggests however, that the complexities of the food system and the divergences between actors mean that, in practice, to make ‘spaces of possibility’ work entails using mediation and other skills, amounting to a new food diplomacy. In conclusion, the thesis proposes that, in order to facilitate positive food system change to achieve better public health nutrition, a new food diplomacy should be recognised, supported and taught.
    Date of Award12 Mar 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorStuart Jones (Supervisor) & Howard Williamson (Supervisor)

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