Sourcing local food in public catering and procurement

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Changes are afoot in every nation. There is an intent to move towards more local and sustainable food in public sector food and catering policy in England following a public consultation on Government Buying Standards in 2022. In Scotland, the Good Food Nation Act requires that relevant authorities must produce their own good food nation plans. In Wales, a supportive framework exists but many barriers still exist in the way of opportunities for local farmers and producers to access public sector contracts.

This webinar provides an update on developments and policy frameworks and looks at innovative examples of sourcing food from local, agroecological farmers and other suppliers in public catering and procurement, and the role of food partnerships in this context. We discuss different approaches for sourcing more local food, common challenges as well as the unique role that food partnerships can have at a local level.

Why sourcing local food? Local food systems allow for a larger proportion of revenues to be retained in the local economy. For every pound of turnover, local food businesses create roughly three times as many jobs as a supermarket. A shift to more localised food systems and a bigger market share for independent local businesses could create 200,000 jobs. For all the potential and benefits to society and nature that more localised food systems could bring us, our food system is extremely concentrated, and few food companies currently dominate the retail and catering sectors.