The importance of food sustainability is spreading across the N8 AgriFood network and beyond as each of the programme’s eight universities now sits within an officially declared Sustainable Food City.
York is the latest city to be granted the status by the national Sustainable Food Cities programme, after a bid was put in by Good Food York.
The Sustainable Food City title had already been awarded to all seven of the other cities that are home to N8 Agrifood’s university partners. York now joins Newcastle, Durham, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster in the network of 56 Sustainable Food Cities across the UK.
Dr James Stockdale, one of N8 AgriFood’s Knowledge Exchange Fellows, based at the University of York, who sits on the Good Food York group, said: “There have been huge amounts of work going on in York in the area of sustainable food involving researchers, volunteers and the council.
“The chief role of Good Food York was not to create a new network, but a matter of making a link between existing networks and highlighting the good work that is being done.
“In terms of the N8 AgriFood programme, Sustainable Food City status takes us to a point of looking not just at the impact of our research but the wider impact that our universities have across the region, and how staff from the universities use their knowledge and research for the benefit of wider community work.”
Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain, who jointly set out to develop a cross-sector partnership of local public agencies, businesses, academics and NGOs that are committed to working together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live.
N8 AgriFood’s Sustainable Food Cities:
Good Food York was set up at the end of 2017, and is made up of a group of committed individuals, growers, suppliers, cooks and academics working together with local organisations and with City of York Council support to focus together on principle – how to maximise the potential in York for local and sustainable food, while remaining mindful of the interactions with all the other principles such as low carbon, food poverty and zero waste.
Manchester & Greater Manchester
Food Futures is a city-wide strategy and programme to improve the health and sustainability of food in Manchester. It is coordinated by Public Health Manchester based within Manchester City Council and is a broad partnership of public and private sector and communities. It started as an informal partnership in 2005 and now supports a wide range of healthy and sustainable food activity. The mission within Food Futures is to improve the physical, mental and social well-being of Manchester residents through concerted action by a range of agencies to make local food better, healthier and more accessible.
A new Manchester Food Board has been established, involving a range of cross sector partners, to lead on the Manchester Food Board priorities and drive forward activity for the City.
Established in 2009, FeedingManchester is Greater Manchester’s network of sustainable food practitioners, meeting three times a year to discuss challenges and opportunities and build partnerships to increase access to sustainable food. Its events involve a range of organisations from local farmers to community gardens and allotments, wholefood shops to food
banks and community cafes, food activists to health professionals – who all look holistically at the food system. They collectively write proposals and strategies which feed into public sector consultations and working groups, with FeedingManchester #13 focused on developing a Greater Manchester Sustainable Food Strategy for the 3rd Sector.
Leeds Food Partnership (LFP) was established by Feed Leeds, Leeds City Council, and food organisations across Leeds to promote a new strategic approach to sustainable, healthy and affordable food in the city. LFP aims to contribute to city priorities to address health inequalities including malnutrition and obesity, reduce food poverty, support local food businesses, and reduce the environmental impact of the production, trade and consumption of food, with a strong emphasis on the reduction of food waste. LFP seeks to work inclusively with all sectors of the local food system, including producers, processors, caterers, retailers, outlets, education and community groups.
Feed Leeds is a network of more than 50 individuals and organisations working in partnership to support local food growing for its social, economic, environmental and health benefits, and to promote healthy, sustainable and affordable food in Leeds. Co-managed projects currently include The Leeds Food Partnership, Leeds Edible Schools Sustainability Network and Leeds Edible Campus.
The diversity of both long established and newly emerging food and drink related activities taking place across Sheffield is entering an exciting new phase of development as the City continues to work towards wider recognition as a ‘Sustainable Food City’.
The Sheffield Food Strategy 2014-17 set out what Sheffield City Council and partners aimed to do between 2014-17 to improve the local food system. After reaching its end there was widespread acknowledgement of the need to refresh the objectives of the strategy, make them relevant to the current context and set out new aims and ambitions for the future.
The Liverpool Food People is a network of food growers, composters, buyers, cooks + eaters passionate about a positive healthy food culture for lovely Liverpool.
The LFP is third sector led, with members currently hailing from Food for Thought; healthy school meals caterer; Fareshare Merseyside; Health Equality Group (Heart of Mersey); Faiths4Change and arts and health enterprise Squash Nutrition with support from NHS Liverpool CCG, and Liverpool City Council. Food is their commonality and they aim to make enjoying good food easy, accessible and affordable for everyone, and to grow a lasting Liverpool food economy for the future.
Food Newcastle is leading a movement of organisations and individuals who are demanding a healthier food culture to improve the quality of lives in Newcastle.
Its approach is to work with policy and decision makers to effect strategic change (in areas such as procurement, waste and environmental sustainability) that will shift the food system of Newcastle and increase the supply of healthy and sustainable food. The group also aims to connect many more residents with all aspects of good food (growing, buying, cooking, eating) in order to increase demand for a healthier food environment in Newcastle.
Food Durham started its work in 2011 with a 2 ½ year project to develop a Sustainable Local Food Strategy and establish a Food Partnership. Its Food Charter and website were launched in September 2013, and its Strategy and Partnership (Food Durham) in May 2014. Its vision is “to work and advocate for a revitalised, viable and diverse local food system that supports the local economy and makes available to all a wide range of fresh, healthy foods that are sustainably produced in or around County Durham”.
Sustainable Food City Lancaster is an initiative led initially by community food growing groups. Its first big event was held in May 2013 when they brought together a wide range of public, private, voluntary and community representatives to talk about how Lancaster could develop a city-wide healthy and sustainable food programme. It is now establishing a cross-sector steering group to drive the programme forward and hope to develop an action plan to transform food culture across the City.