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Potential Research Topics sticky icon

Below is a list of potential research ideas. Do you have any questions about local food which you would like a researcher to explore?

It could be anything from market research queries, to economic analyses you would like to see reviewed, to historical intrigues and geographical quandries. Feel free to add a suggestion below. We hope to make this as collaborative as possible. Contact Amy via the 'contact us' page if you would like to work with us to build up this resource.

Are you a student considering topics to research? Whether you are an artist, technologist, computer scientist, psychologist, nutritionist, philosopher or something else, we hope that you are inspired by some of the ideas below and consider involving local food into your studies.

Supermarket Campaigns

Darlington has a Sainsburys, Morrisons and an Asda, but there was a large campaign to prevent Tescos from moving in.

How was the situation different when Tescos moved into the centre of Durham in the Summer 2009?

Web Technologies for Increasing Activism and Collaboration

How can Durham Local Food website team develop this website so that it is an inclusive and progressive medium for networking among local food businesses, especially in facilitating a dialogue between farmers and caterers/processors/retailers?

Improving the Appeal of, and Access to, Local Food

'Inconvenience, inaccessibility, lack of variety and cost': Recent research has found these to be the most common reasons why more people do not buy local food in County Durham. How can we overcome these perceptions and realities?

Accessing Land for Community Growing Projects in Durham

A case study of the activism to access land for allotments and community growing projects: barriers, opportunities and recommendations. Are Incredible Edible projects political responses to a lack of food sovereignty?

Allotment plots are often too much work for one person. Why can't we have more communal growing areas or shared allotment plots? How can we facilitate this?


1) How could County Durham's local food be marketed more effectively?

2) In what ways can local food be likened to fair trade food? If the ethic of fairnessis is important to local food consumers, should this replace the frequent reference to 'food miles' in local food promotions?

3) Would a local food cooperative cafe work in Durham City centre?


1) Local Food and Class. Recommendations for outreach.

2) Reaching Critical Mass. How can we get there, or will local food always be a niche sector?

3) Some local schools feature local food in the curriculum. Are pupils influencing their parents?

Collaborations Amongst Food Producers

1) Farming is often regarded as a solitary form of work. The number one product produced in County Durham is red meat - both sheep and cow products. Meat marts appear to be important places for livestock farmers to socialise. Could a demise of 'meat marts' signal a loss of a community hub for farmers i.e. a loss of opportunities for co-operation and partnership?

Local Food: The Trojan Horse

Is local food 'the carrot', rather than the stick, to attract interest in building resilience?

The Power of Information

1) Are food labels effective? Could they be developed?

2) Are pamphlets, films and other information mediums effective ways to grow the local food sector? What are the alternatives?