‘Who decides what’s in my fridge?’ is a Bristol-based project that is exploring what shapes and influences our food habits – and how understanding this can help us to improve access to affordable, nutritious food in communities.
The project involves four Bristol-based organisations – Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC), Single Parent Action Network (SPAN) Coexist at Hamilton House, and University of Bristol – and the research is part of Productive Margins, a five-year research programme that brings academics and communities together to explore new ways for people to engage with decision-making processes and regulations.
The decisions we make about food aren’t always as simple as we might think: they are influenced by many factors including cost, dietary needs and availability. Some of these factors are outside of our control, such as the location of shops, access to transport and advertising that targets particular groups of people.
This website was developed by eight young people at Knowle West Media Centre to share their research in the community of Knowle West – an area of approximately 5,500 households in the south of Bristol that has experienced significant health challenges in recent years and has limited access to shops.
KWMC hopes that local groups and activists will be able to use the data that has been collected and visualized here to start new conversations about food provision and the regulations that surround it – and spark new action to create the change they want to see in their area.
In October 2015, arts organization and charity Knowle West Media Centre employed a team of eight Junior Digital Producers (JDPs) to work on the project. During a six-month training and employment programme, the JDPs learned in-demand skills in coding, data visualization and community engagement whilst working alongside local residents and project partners to develop research methods that would yield useful results and engaging ways of presenting the findings.
The JDPs set about creating a fun, interactive survey to gather information about local people’s food habits. After trialing several methods of data collection, the group developed the concept and prototype of the KWMC Fridge, building a life-size refrigerator filled with food models and feedback mechanisms.
The Fridge included 10 factors that could affect someone’s food habits, such as price of food, nutritional value, and access to shops, and participants were asked to indicate how much they were affected by each factor by marking their answer onto a ping-pong ball and posting it into a tube within the Fridge. The JDPs took the Fridge on a tour of Knowle West, stopping in different locations and gathering 75 responses.
The JDPs’ work concluded with the “Eat and Greet” event, when they transformed an empty shop in Knowle West into a ‘pop up supermarket’ containing the Fridge and a series of physical representations of
the data collected during the Fridge tour.
This website contains the JDPs’ analysis of the data gathered during the Fridge tour. Visit the Fridge Tour page and filter the results to see how people of different backgrounds, ages and communities felt about each of the 10 factors.
You can also use this site to take part in a second survey about food habits, developed by the JDPs and a group of Knowle West residents. This survey asks more detailed questions about some of the factors that people said they most wanted to change during the Fridge tour. The results of this survey are viewable in real time on the Live Results page.
To find out more about the project or to get involved, get in touch with Knowle West Media Centre on 0117 903 0444.