Third sector advocacy: an exploration of the work of community food providers

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This paper explores advocative work of third sector community food providers in Scotland. The paper argues these organisations can contribute to tackling household food insecurity through their advocative work, recognising that state-led policy on household income is needed. Capturing the advocacy of these organisations, rather than focussing solely on their service provision can provide insight which is largely missing from existing community food scholarship. The research adopts a quasi-ethnographic qualitative approach with 16 grassroots community food providers and 5 meso- level support organisations. The findings identify advocacy practices undertaken, targeted at political and public audiences and national and local institutional layers. It highlights tensions of this work, including fears of exacerbating a failing system. The findings also evidence a complementary, symbiotic, and reciprocally strengthening relationship between service provision and advocacy by third sector organisations. These contributions demonstrate the potential of this sector to contribute to social change required to address root causes of household food insecurity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964 - 981
Number of pages21
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • third sector
  • advocacy
  • community food providers
  • household food insecurity
  • Scotland
  • social change


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