Our Approach

We believe that a transition to a healthy, sustainable and more equitable food system requires not only strong national policy but also collaborative action between policy makers, businesses and civil society at the local level.

Since 2013, we have helped places across the UK:

  • to establish a cross-sector food partnership involving local authority and public sector bodies, third sector organisations, businesses and academic institutions;
  • to develop a vision, strategy and action plan for making healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live; and
  • to work together to realise that vision through concerted and coordinated action across a wide range of food issues.

From obesity and diet-related ill-health to food poverty and waste, climate change and biodiversity loss to declining prosperity and social dislocation, we believe food is not only at the heart of some of our greatest problems but is also a vital part of the solution.


Due to the complexity and interconnectedness of these issues, we promote a systems approach that involves and connects key actors at all levels and across all parts of the food system. This approach is encapsulated in the six ‘key issues’ of our framework for action:

‘In a context where sustainable food policy is largely absent at the national or local level, food activists have operated largely in isolation, often making faltering progress through a frustrating process of trial and error. SFC has fostered a culture where informal sharing of experience and ideas is now common practice… helping partnerships to accelerate progress made on areas that are complex, technical and require specialist insight.’
University of the West of England (Evaluation Report, May 2019)

We believe that food partnerships can drive a fundamental shift in local food culture and the local food system and become the hub of a rapidly growing good food movement of active and engaged citizens.

We provide grants, advice and support to enable local food partnerships to drive changes to local policy and practice and to undertake campaigns, practical projects and public engagement initiatives.

As members of the Sustainable Food Places Network, partnerships are committed to sharing their learning and expertise as part of a community of evolving good practice. We have also created a national award scheme, based around the framework for action, that benchmarks, motivates and recognises achievement.