We share a commitment to the right to food, where everyone can access and afford food which is adequate according to their cultural preferences. Food providers support people from many different cultures and backgrounds in people's local community. Understanding the cultural preferences and religious needs of your community members is crucial to inclusion and promoting the dignity of everyone.
There are some core standards that all providers should meet, and we have produced some basic guidance and information on culturally valued food and religious dietary requirements (below).
We encourage food providers to have a general understanding of the common cultural and religious practices and to gather additional input directly from community members. It’s up to people to decide for themselves what’s culturally valued and this guidance is designed to help community food providers work this out with their community members.
Food that is familiar to us from where we grew up makes us feel a sense of connection and belonging. It brings memories of our home, family, culture, and makes us feel valued. Each of us have cultural and/or religious dietary preferences and needs that are central to how we experience dignity and inclusion. Each person will differ in their cultural choices and preferences
““One time at my foodbank I was asked what food reminds me of home and the next week I was given a bag of red kidney beans and some plantain. It made me feel at home.””
Allowing people to pick and choose items for themselves
Asking people with kindness and curiosity about their cultural preferences
Recruiting volunteers from different cultural groups in the local community
Celebrating religious and cultural festivals
Partnering with other organisations to provide specialised support
Asking people with kindness and curiosity about their dietary needs and preferences
Including all community members as equal contributors to decision making
Collecting ideas and feedback from community members
Inviting people to take part and share recipes and skills
Organising informal meetups to encourage cultural exchange
“"The staff and volunteers know me by name and remember my religious dietary preferences. This makes me feel like I matter and I'm part of the community."”
This resource has been co-produced by Govan Community Project’s Food for All Group in collaboration with the Dignity in Practice team and with illustrations by Liberation Works. We are a diverse group with different backgrounds in terms of racialisation, age, gender, language, and the food cultures we grew up in and have experienced since.
In 2022 the Dignity Project and the Govan Community project partnered to ensure the resources reflected the experiences of those in the asylum process. As part of this we also created A Beginners Guide to the UK Asylum Process (click here to access) and Everyday challenges of the charity model (click here to access).