The Healthy Start scheme; food welfare and the relationship between policy design and practice.
- October 2011- present: PhD Candidate, Centre for Food Policy, School of Health Sciences, City University, London
Supervisors: Martin Caraher, Helen Crawley
- Masters of Science, Food Policy, Centre for Food Policy, School of Health Sciences, City University, London
Awarded The Worshipful Company of Cooks Dissertation Prize
Supervisors: Martin Caraher, Tim Lang
- Bachelor of Arts, American Studies (hons), University of Manchester
The UK has had some form of Food Welfare Scheme since 1940. In 2006, the government scheme 'Healthy Start' replaced the former Food Welfare Scheme (FWS). Healthy Start provides vouchers to eligible beneficiaries that can be exchanged for fruits, vegetables, milk, infant milk formula and pre and postnatal supplements. A key goal of the scheme is to reduce health inequalities by ensuring low income parents can provide nutritious foods to their family at important times in their children's development. Low fruit and vegetable consumption is a recognized symptom of low income environments across Britain, however it is seldom a single issue such as 'cost' that prevents many low income individuals from consuming the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables.
The primary research objectives of this PhD are to consider how Healthy Start as a policy relates to Healthy Start in practice and to consider what influenced the original policy framework for Healthy Start.
The following two research questions will guide the line of enquiry:
- What were the influences on the original policy framework for Healthy
- What are the barriers and enablers for a national food welfare scheme to be delivered on a local level?
Why it matters to Food Policy
This research will meet a knowledge and policy gap; on the one hand it will answer pressing practical questions about Healthy Start which will subsequently be used to interrogate the scheme as a food welfare policy option. The research will also shed light on the practicalities and realities of a national food policy being delivered through local mechanisms.
In light of the current economic climate and new political focus on the early years, there is a clear need to extend knowledge in this area to form a foundation on which the development Healthy Start can be fairly informed and linked with other food policy and inequality agendas.
- Machell, G and Caraher M (2012) "The role of municipal markets in urban food strategies" in Sustainable food planning; evolving practice and theory. Wageningen. Wageningen Academic Publishers
- Machell, G and Caraher M (2012) "Towards a definition of food co-ops" in Sustainable food planning; evolving practice and theory. Wageningen. Wageningen Academic Publishers
- Machell G and Donovan C (2013) 'A review of recipes provided on the Healthy Start website' First Steps Nutrition Trust
- Sustainable food: A Guide for Early Years Settings (2010) The Caroline Walker Trust
- Food Co-ops and Buying Group project evaluation, First Interim Report (2010) Sustain: the Alliance for Better Food and Farming
- Smith J, Machell G, Caraher M (2012) 'What makes this food co-op a co-operative? We just are' Presentation at the Co-operative Research Conference - An Alternative for the 21st century?, July 2012, Manchester and Rochdale.
- Linking open air markets with public health: A case study from the UK - presented at: Contesting the Streets: Street Vendors and Open-Air Markets Conference at the University of California Los Angeles, May 2010
- Towards a definition of food co-ops - presented at the AESOP conference on food and planning, University of Brighton, October 2010
- The role of municipal markets in urban food strategies - presented at the AESOP conference on food and planning, University of Brighton, October 2010.
Government food welfare schemes in the UK and USA, Early Years nutrition policy, food access and food poverty, urban Food Strategies, sustainable diets.