Ahead of the local council elections taking place in England 6 May, Sustainable Food Places and Sustain are inviting everyone to write to their local elected leaders and ask them to support a food partnership in every local area and a council lead on food.
Child hunger and an explosion of demand for food banks are the tip of the iceberg and the ultimate proof that there is something wrong with our food system.
Many more challenges are mounting: from the growing environmental impact of food on our planet, rising levels of obesity, to the uncertainty faced by the hundreds of thousands of people employed in the catering and hospitality industry. These problems can’t be solved with a quick sticking plaster but require people locally coming together for a shared understanding of the problems and identifying the best solutions.
The headlines may be national but many of the solutions lie at the local level, as we have seen time and time again in the delivery of the emergency food response during Covid-19. Food partnerships are a brilliant way to bring together citizens, local government, community groups, businesses and academics to promote good food for all. In places where they already exist, they have helped drive collective progress on many of the issues above.
That’s why we inviting everyone in England to write to your local elected leaders and ask them to support a food partnership in your local area. If there is already a food partnership then please do change your message to your councillors to mention them, and encourage the councillor receiving the email to support them. We’ve written the copy for you, and identified your councillors, all you need to do is press send!
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The ‘Building a food partnership’ theme of the SFP Toolkit – the pink section – contains resources to help you establish an appropriate and representative food partnership. In particular these resources will be useful:
Get the right people involved by encouraging and planning Stakeholder engagement and steering groups
Sustain's Food and Covid-19: How local authorities can support recovery and resilience report highlights three key areas that contribute to a strong local response: principles, processes and partnerships.
Bristol Food Policy Council secured strong references to food in the Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The HWB has a key strategic aim to use ‘our combined influence and commissioning to support work to tackle obesity, nutritional deficiency and food poverty’. The Health and Wellbeing Strategy has 10 key priorities, one of which is food (page 5). The aim is ‘to create a healthier, more sustainable, more resilient food system for the city to benefit the local economy and the environment’.