This research considers the relationship between neoliberalism, poverty and food insecurity and how this impacts on the ability of a community to self-organise and become resilient. Specifically, it examines shocks imposed by the implementation of austerity policy and neoliberal welfare reform and the longer term individualisation that gives rise to greater vulnerability to such shocks and how community organisations encourage different levels of resilience in the face of this. Original findings from case study and qualitative analysis are twofold. Firstly, food insecurity effects are not only hunger and poor health experienced at the individual scale, but they also extend into places through the loss of social networks, erosion of community spaces, denigration of local foodscapes and collective de-skilling that limits the community resources needed for self-organising. Secondly, the ways in which food support is provided in communities has implications for how communities can regain the resources they need to be able to enact resilience in the face of trouble and difficulty. As such, the research demonstrates that self-organising is more than free-time activity; in these conditions, the capacity to self-organise is a vital community asset that is necessary for building resilience and social sustainability. As such, policy responses to poverty should take a multi-scale approach.
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