The single story about the foodbank

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


The dominant, academic story about the food bank says that it is as a de-politicising charity organisation (Dowler, 2016). There is, however, a danger to telling a single story (Adichie 2009). It consists of (1) mis-presenting the way in which food bank organisations understand their own activities and goals, and (2) not (fully) recognising the work they actually do, and the possible normative justification for it. To question a dominant story one needs an elaborated counter story which I cannot provide here and now. What I hope to do is more programmatic in nature. The plan here is to point at a questionable, basic element of the dominant story, that is: its critique on the charity approach, and then sketch a different story that also can be heard at the food bank. This will lead me to a reflection on the difference between the dominant ‘rights based approach’ and a ‘dignity approach’ that I reconstruct and derive from empirical research, and to an attempt to normatively justify the form of emergency food aid that the food bank provides. The distribution of food, donated by companies and private individuals and to be prepared at home, at some 530 food banks that are united in the ‘Association of Dutch Food Banks’ (ADFB), forms the empirical frame of reference in which I argue.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProfessionals in Food Chains
EditorsSvenja Springer, Herwig Grimm
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868698
ISBN (Print)9789086863211
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018
EventEURSAFE 2018 - Viana, Austria
Duration: 13 Jun 201816 Jun 2018


ConferenceEURSAFE 2018


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