PGR Opportunity – FoodWise Leeds, hosted by Zest Leeds

LSSI Postgraduate Research Student Placement Opportunity

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a PGR student to work on a project with FoodWise Leeds, hosted by Zest Leeds.  FoodWise Leeds is the local food partnership for city and is hosted within Zest. Our aim is to create a healthy, sustainable, and fair food system for everyone in Leeds. In 2019 Leeds was awarded the Sustainable Food Places bronze award in recognition of our holistic and joined up approach to food and we are now working towards silver. Increasing production and access to nutritious food is key to our work.

For a city the size of Leeds there is only limited locally grown food available. While there is ambition to increase local food production, there is a lack of horticulture skills, access to land and resources to grow food on both at a community and commercial level. In addition, increasing access to fresh nutritious food was highlighted during lockdown to help reduce inequality of access.

FoodWise represents Leeds in the Urban Agriculture Consortium (UAC), a new partnership working to increase urban agriculture across Britain. Leeds along with Sheffield, Middlesbrough, Lancaster, and Nottingham form the Northern Pathfinders within UAC. One of the projects they are working on is to develop a FarmStart programme across the North to train the next generation of agroecological farmers. FarmStart model started in North America, is well developed in Europe and there are several good existing examples in Britain.  As part of the process, UAC has been conducting a series of workshops looking at different models and aspects of setting up a FarmStart project. The next step is for each Pathfinder to undertake a feasibility study of their area to better understand the local situation. These feasibility studies will provide the evidence base to develop a regional FarmStart programme across the North of England.

Proposed timescales (the maximum placement duration is 130 hours):
The weekly working hours and start date are to be agreed by the successful student and Zest Leeds. The student will be provided with a £1950 bursary to cover their time on the placement.  In light of the current Covid situation, all meetings and interviews can be held virtually.  FoodWise will support in making introductions to local producers, voluntary and statutory contacts.

The ideal candidate and skills required
• An interest in urban food systems
• Experience of interviewing a range of stakeholders and developing surveys
• Strong qualitative research skills
• Ability to engage with a range of partners, including high level Council officers, elected
officials, food producers, farmers, business community etc

The anticipated benefits to the student’s skills/experience
• Experience of engaging with a range of stakeholders including government, charities/third sector, and businesses – collecting evidence through focus groups/interviews
• Developing skills in context analysis through identifying internal/external influences and path dependencies specifically applicable to Leeds, and thus what will and will not work here and/or transferable to the wider region in terms of any framework commonalities and divergences
• Literature review and evidence evaluation
• Proposing a range of solutions based on the evidence above
• Developing the evidence base to support a regional funding bid
• An opportunity to shape city policy for the future
• Contributing to the SFC silver award application and ultimately gold once the programme is funded

This opportunity is open to Postgraduate Researchers at the University of Leeds, if you are interested in applying for this placement position please send:
• Your CV
• Covering letter
• Email from your supervisor that they are happy for you to undertake the placement

Send all documents to LSSI Institute Manager, Cheryl Harris, by 14th December 2021.  We will be reviewing the CVs after this date, and you may be asked to attend an informal interview with the Zest Leeds team.