The Middlesbrough Food Partnership (MFP) reviews Middlesbrough’s town-wide approach to food. The overall focus is on meeting the needs of the town with food as a vehicle. We want to make our town a place where local people can eat good quality, healthy food that is easy to buy and offers value for money. We also want this food to be sourced and produced locally wherever possible and reduce and recycle as much of the food waste and packaging as possible.
The MFP was formed in 2010 and is an unconstituted group with a open multi-sectoral membership including: individuals; community groups; charities and VCS organisations; Middlesbrough Council; Middlesbrough Environment City (who provide the chair and coordinator); Teesside University; Middlesbrough College; Foodbank; Thirteen Group (RSL); and Warrens Group Ltd.
The focus of the MFP is to develop a whole food system model to effectively embed healthy, sustainable and accessible food at the heart of solutions that address the needs of the town. The revised Food Action Plan (FAP) 2020 - 2022 recognises the effective and enthusiastic cross-sector delivery of many of the actions by the partners and the ability of the partnership to achieve outcomes using this holistic approach.
The MFP develops and oversees the implementation of the Middlesbrough Food Action Plan, with partners leading by example and with best practice and is developing an effective a whole system approach to addressing the needs of the town. A large proportion of delivery by the partnership is by partners through existing resources, with the partnership influencing and supporting changes to delivery of existing initiatives.
In 2019 Middlesbrough became the first location in the country to progress from the SFC Bronze Award to become only the fourth location to be awarded silver. This was a significant achievement for the Food Partnership and the town, and justified recognition for the breadth and depth of work undertaken by over 48 organisations.
Middlesbrough is now bidding for the SFP Gold Award. A key focus is to create long-term systemic change by embedding sustainable food into policy throughout the town. It is working with anchor institutions and the private and third sector in Middlesbrough to review and revise the key policies and strategies, and to create new policies to develop a policy environment that supports and promotes healthy and sustainable food.
In 2018, the MFP took part in the national Food Power campaign and subsequently formed a Food Power Alliance as a direct response to local need. The aim of the Middlesbrough Food Power Alliance is to address and reduce food poverty issues facing the people of Middlesbrough, and it is now a very active and effective alliance, helping to coordinate and facilitate a broad range of work across the town. Building resilience within Middlesbrough’s communities is at the core of the work of the MFPA as we recover from COVID.
Past successes of the Food Partnership include: Sugar Smart and Veg Cities campaigns; transforming catering and procurement and developing a healthy and sustainable food economy through the Growing Middlesbrough initiative; tackling food waste in partnership with Warrens Ltd; Middlesbrough Council’s Food 4 Health scheme; and a thriving grass roots sector delivering a breadth of good food initiatives.