Sustainable Food Places, the UK programme led by Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming, is pleased to announce that Brighton and Hove is the first UK location to receive the prestigious Gold Sustainable Food Place Award recognising pioneering work around good food.
The Sustainable Food Places Network is a rapidly growing movement of people in towns, cities, boroughs and counties across the UK working to make healthy, sustainable and local food a defining characteristic of where they live.
Through local food partnerships involving local authorities, charities, businesses and community groups, the Network is using good food to tackle some of the biggest social, economic and environmental issues today, from food poverty and obesity, the decay of our high streets and the disappearance of family farming to climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and waste.
In this vein, the Sustainable Food Places Award is designed to recognise and celebrate the success of those places taking a joined up, holistic approach to food and that are achieving significant positive change on a range of key food issues.
Following 17 years since the inception of the partnership and an inspiring bid (which you can read here), the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership (BHFP) have championed the city as it becomes the first in the UK to win a Gold Sustainable Food Place Award.
In addition to achieving a Silver Sustainable Food Places award in 2015, Brighton and Hove was the first city in the UK to create a citywide food strategy, the first to have food growing written into planning guidelines for new residential developments and the first to require all Council food procurement to meet minimum health and sustainability standards. Brighton and Hove’s approach to food poverty is widely recognised and is now a model for other places.
However, as Vic Borril, Food Partnership Director for BHFP says, the city's food related ambitions do not end with this award:
“We have coordinated this bid, but the activities and achievements in it are not ours alone- they belong the whole city and beyond. Food has never been so important. It is a lens for understanding the most complex problems. It has the power to bring people together and changes lives. ”~Vic Borrill
Tom Andrews, who leads the development of the programme said; "It’s amazing to present this award to Brighton and Hove, recognising the extraordinary innovation and effort to change attitudes and perceptions about food and create a more sustainable food system.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown just how important it is that people have healthy diets and can access affordable, healthy and sustainable food no matter who they are or where they live. But the pandemic has also shown just how resilient communities can be when they work together to help those most in need, and nowhere more so than Brighton and Hove.
“In achieving this first-ever Gold Sustainable Food Places Award, Brighton and Hove have shown what is possible in transforming a local food system for the better. Recognising that food is not only at the heart of some of today’s greatest challenges but is also a vital part of the solution, Brighton and Hove Partnership are leading a vanguard of more than 50 pioneering local food partnerships and creating one of the fastest-growing social movements in the UK today.”
Speaking about Brighton and Hove’s Gold award, chef, food writer and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said;
"The word “crisis” has been bandied around a lot in the last year – and not without good reason. Health crisis, a looming economic crisis and a climate and biodiversity crisis. They are all linked of course, and the solutions are linked too. We need to move to a food and farming system that is good for people and good for the planet. One that values a huge variety of whole foods – mainly plants – above the endless industrial processing of a small number of industrially farmed crops: wheat, maize, rice and soya, for example, and meat farmed on such a scale that it devours a third of the worlds cereal crops.
Such a transition requires urgent and radical action at both a national and local level, by governments, by businesses, and by communities. As the first UK city to achieve the Sustainable Food Places Gold Award, Brighton and Hove have raised the bar. They have hugely improved access to affordable good food and nurtured a food system that promotes people’s health and livelihoods while protecting the local and global environment. Their work across the city, led by the Brighton and Hove Partnership, is a massive achievement and a model of effective collaboration that I hope every place in the UK will adopt. I salute them and congratulate them on this well-deserved award.”
The Sustainable Food Places programme is led by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming. It is funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the National Lottery Community Fund.
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