• About Us

    A group of 40 representatives of independent, grassroots food aid providers came together to form the network in May 2016 at an event held in Manchester. There are many hundreds of independent food aid providers including food banks across the UK which, until 2016, have had no national representation. We believe that by bringing them together we are in process of creating a powerful voice for change.


    The idea for the Independent Food Aid Network was developed Seb Mayfield in collaboration with Steph Ellis, Jon May and Chris Sunderland following Seb's visit to Canada where food banks have existed for decades.

    Seb saw the potential for an alternative approach to food poverty as practised in Canada through Community Food Centres, published a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust report on the subject and

    we are grateful to him for his hard work and commitment to getting IFAN off the ground.

    Many thanks as well to Ren Piercy, Lucy Cullen and Sharon Ball for their valuable help as volunteers during 2018.

    We are also very grateful to Chris Sunderland for his enormous contribution in time and wisdom

    as trustee from 2016 to 2019.



    IFAN envisions a UK where everyone can eat good food and food aid is no longer necessary.



    • To connect members to each other - independent food aid providers are able to share best practice and ideas.
    • To connect members, researchers, journalists and members of the public to knowledge - our member network enables us to provide a variety of learning opportunities, support current research, shape future research and strengthen advocacy efforts.
    • To call for the structural changes - IFAN advocates for the root causes of the poverty to be addressed that will see the need for food aid reduced and eliminated in the long-term. 


    • To be critical, creative and experimental - members of IFAN explore new and creative ways to identify and address problems of food poverty and the societal changes necessary to achieve food security. Responses to food poverty aim to transform the situation, not perpetuate the problem.
    • To generate a culture of openness and respect for tackling food insecurity issues - members of IFAN are open to and respect different approaches to achieving long-term food security. To improve provision in the here and now, food aid providers can learn from each other and IFAN exists in part to provide a forum for its members to discuss different approaches in a critical but supportive way.


    • We acknowledge the need for structural change in society - IFAN recognises that food poverty is the result of a complex set of structural issues relating but not restricted to problems of insecure, inadequate and expensive housing, insecure and low paid employment, insufficient social welfare provision, poor health, and environmentally unsustainable and socially unjust food production and distribution system.
    • We recognise the importance of good food and wellbeing - IFAN recognises that growing food, taking food beyond the cash economy and connecting with nature, contributes to individual and community health and provides space for wider civic engagement.
All Posts