Food surplus in a social restaurant, Geneva 01/2020

This site aims to promote the results of our research, Going Hungry in the Land of Plenty : an anthropological approach to food aid in Switzerland. Funded by the FNS, the Fond National Suisse pour la Science, between 2019 and 2022, the HETS (Geneva's School of Social Work) is investigating food aid dispositives in Switzerland, as the country has not been the subject of any major study on this issue. This research will provide a mapping of food aid in Switzerland, followed by case studies in two specific cantons (Geneva and Fribourg) documented through direct observations, informal and formal interviews, reviews and a analysis of the written press.

Today, in Switzerland, no one dies of hunger. Many people though are food insecure and have become impoverished due to poor working conditions, unemployment, cuts in social assistance, debts, health problems and certain familial situations. Unable to meet their ordinary and unexpected expenses and forced to save on food to keep their budget afloat, the poorest people are forced to resort to food aid.

How do food banks and food redistribution systems work? What is the difference between conditional or unconditional (low-threshold) aid ? How and in by what margin are state responsibilities, associative missions, calls for private sponsorship and civil society supporting a redistribution system that seems to be based as much on the fight against food insecurity as on the fight against food waste? What are the forms of charity, solidarity, exchange, reciprocity, resistance and struggles for basic food rights? How do managing and monitoring, stigmatisation and control manifest themselves in those context of poverty? These are some of the questions that this research project will attempt to answer by considering the associations involved in food aid as partners who will primarily receive the ongoing and final results of our work.

On this website, you will find blog entries, but also more formal writing, such as our scientific publications. You can also consult the page Media, on which we post interviews and field data in various forms.

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