Infrastructuring food democracy: The formation of a local food hub in the context of socio-economic deprivation

Sebastian Prost, Vasilis Vlachokyriakos, Jane Midgley, Graeme Heron, Kahina Meziant, Clara Crivellaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses what infrastructuring in participatory design can contribute to processes of food system democratisation. It presents almost two years of engagement with a community-based organisation in a socioeconomically deprived neighbourhood in England with the aim of developing a local food hub. It documents how the collaborative work shifted from setting up an infrastructure to ongoing infrastructuring of an enabling environment to grow and sustain social innovation. While the former focused on a technological platform and a business to deliver inclusivity, customer experience, and marketing, the latter focuses on building lasting relationships on three levels: strengthening ties within the community-based organisation, offering social spaces to connect with the local community, and with other organisations by forming coalitions with mutual benefits. We contribute three design opportunities: First, in order to infrastructure the formation of publics around food initiatives, we need to design for relationship building. Second, we point to design implications for ethical aspirations, participation, and system transformation towards a food democracy. Finally, we reflect on the sustainability of infrastructuring and the role of designers to work towards independent infrastructures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number57
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019

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