Participatory alternatives for charity food delivery? Finnish development in an international comparison
Silvasti, T. (2014). Participatory alternatives for charity food delivery? Finnish development in an international comparison. In A.-L. Matthies, & L. Uggerhøj (Eds.), Participation, Marginalization and Welfare Services: Concepts, Politics and Practices Across European Countries (pp. 183-197). Ashgate.
© Ashgate Publishing. This is a final draft version of the article whose final and definitive form has been published by Ashgate Publishing.
[Introduction] Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. First and foremost, hunger as an extreme form of marginalization is a problem of developing countries. It is interesting, though, that food insecurity is also increasing rapidly in the developed world. This article deals with the particular phenomena of marginalization in forms of hunger and food insecurity in rich Western countries. Participation is discussed here as a promising option to deactivating and, at the worst, humiliating charity food delivery. The starting point of the article is that welfare services or policies have not been able to solve the problem of hunger as a sign of extreme poverty. On the contrary, charity food delivery based strongly on third sector and voluntary work – a course of action which is strange for the ethos of Nordic welfare – has become established as a result of this failure in Finland. 2 This article will focus especially on the emergence and entrenchment of food aid as a means of poverty relief. The Finnish case reflects developments which began in the USA and Canada during 1980s. In North America, emergency food is nowadays a crucial instrument of poverty policy, whereas Finland is the only Nordic welfare state accepting 1EU food aid for deprived persons. In the beginning of the paper, the three basic concepts of food poverty – hunger, food security and food insecurity – are briefly clarified. Then reasons for the growing demand for food aid as well as explanations for the entrenchment or rather institutionalization of the distribution of food assistance is presented. Next the justification and morally problematic nature of charity food as a means of poverty relief in rich societies is discussed and participatory alternatives to food aid delivery are introduced. At the end of the chapter the Finnish case is summarized. ...
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