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Barbulescu and Robertson on 'Feeding the Nation'


'Feeding the nation: seasonal migrant workers, food and rural livelihoods' was presented by Roxana Barbulescu and Bethany Robertson (SSP, University of Leeds)

The UK food and agriculture sector relies on seasonal migrant workers to plant, harvest and pack fruit and vegetables. Over 90% of seasonal workers in the UK are migrants. Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic has put significant strains on recruitment and protection of seasonal workers, yet they remain essential to food growers. This talk will present results from the ESRC funded project Feeding the Nation (project website here ) Using remote 80 qualitative interviews, photo diaries and data from a postal survey, we discuss the implication of the new seasonal migration regime and its implications for the livelihood of rural communities across the country.

Impact and engagement activities to support dissemination of research

Collaboration with policy actors including The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is a formal partner with contributions to the DEFRA Led-review on Automation (, the DAERA NI, Northern Ireland Consultation on the abolition of Agricultural Wage Boards ( ), Select Committee report on Labour shortages ( ) and Food Standards Agency report on acute shortages in the food sector ( ).

Co-produced, with charity impact partner New Europeans, multimedia-multilingual information materials were produced to empower pre-departure decisions and maps support in the UK These resources can be accessed .

A partnership with the with Museum of Rural English Life and artistic Illustrator lead to three online exhibitions in an effort to transcend linguistic and other obstacles that visual media and public museums facilitate and to anchor  the research in popular culture. To visit the exhibitions  The Raspberry Planter  Summer on a strawberry farm  Hidden rural mobilities

Finally a song Feed the nation was co-produced with the folk duo Russel Peddler Feed  which was featured on Farming Today. The song premiered at the Southmont Folk Music Festival in Devon.