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Food assistance in Portugal: organizational challenges in three different contexts

Food assistance in Portugal: organizational challenges in three different contexts Drawing on an ethnographic research study, developed in three different food assistance initiatives (FAIs) operating in Portugal, this article seeks to explore the elements that characterize them and the main organizational challenges they face.Design/methodology/approachParticipant observation was carried out in a surplus food redistribution charity, a soup kitchen and a social supermarket, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with supervisors of these FAIs. The study followed an inductive coding strategy, and a thematic analysis was developed.FindingsThe main results point to an appreciation of the initiatives and the role they play, but they also highlight the existence of several challenges, mainly related to: 1) difficulties in accessing sources of funding, 2) the absence of an intervening state and 3) a scarcity of resources that allow a thorough assessment of their activities and services provided, which weakens the public image of these responses.Originality/valueThe development of food assistance in Europe has a long history. Over the past few years, this sector has grown significantly. Nowadays, it is possible to identify several realities around emergency food provision. However, this heterogeneity has not been sufficiently explored in the literature. In addition, there are few studies that report on the variety of initiatives that coexist in Portugal and establish a comparison between them. The current paper intends to overcome this gap by seeking to understand the main models of food assistance operating in the country. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Organizational Ethnography Emerald Publishing

Food assistance in Portugal: organizational challenges in three different contexts

Journal of Organizational Ethnography , Volume 10 (3): 14 – Dec 14, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2046-6749
DOI
10.1108/joe-08-2020-0029
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Drawing on an ethnographic research study, developed in three different food assistance initiatives (FAIs) operating in Portugal, this article seeks to explore the elements that characterize them and the main organizational challenges they face.Design/methodology/approachParticipant observation was carried out in a surplus food redistribution charity, a soup kitchen and a social supermarket, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with supervisors of these FAIs. The study followed an inductive coding strategy, and a thematic analysis was developed.FindingsThe main results point to an appreciation of the initiatives and the role they play, but they also highlight the existence of several challenges, mainly related to: 1) difficulties in accessing sources of funding, 2) the absence of an intervening state and 3) a scarcity of resources that allow a thorough assessment of their activities and services provided, which weakens the public image of these responses.Originality/valueThe development of food assistance in Europe has a long history. Over the past few years, this sector has grown significantly. Nowadays, it is possible to identify several realities around emergency food provision. However, this heterogeneity has not been sufficiently explored in the literature. In addition, there are few studies that report on the variety of initiatives that coexist in Portugal and establish a comparison between them. The current paper intends to overcome this gap by seeking to understand the main models of food assistance operating in the country.

Journal

Journal of Organizational EthnographyEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 14, 2021

Keywords: Food assistance initiatives; Ethnography; State; Organizational challenges

References