Can Brighton & Hove lead the way to become the most sustainable city in the UK?
by Chloe Clarke, Project Manager for Going for Gold
In 2015 Brighton & Hove became the first silver Sustainable Food City in the country. Now Brighton & Hove Food Partnership are asking everyone in the city to come together to Go for Gold.
A sustainable food city is one where the city works together to ensure good food is available for everyone, problems around food such as obesity or food poverty are addressed and there is not excessive food waste. It brings together food producers, people who provide food from shops, restaurants and places like hospitals and schools as well as the public, to ensure we are all able to access healthy food which does not harm the environment.
It’s a big challenge and can only be achieved with a lot of people working together.
Our city’s approach to food: our food culture, our community food activity, and our collective approach to tackling food poverty, has been praised nationally and even internationally, and has become a model for other cities in the Sustainable Food Cities network. But we believe we can go further. Brighton & Hove and Bristol will both be working towards becoming the first Gold Sustainable Food City in the UK – a place where everyone can benefit from good food which we believe is an exciting and achievable challenge.
How will it happen?
The city of Brighton & Hove has a food strategy Spade to Spoon, which sets out a long-term vision of achieving healthy, sustainable and fair food for all. To go for gold, we want to use our strategy as a springboard for collective action, to take our city’s food system to the next level, galvanising activity, recognising and coordinating the efforts of our city’s army of food heroes.
Already over fifty partners in the public and voluntary and private sectors, in schools, universities, nurseries, children’s centres, caterers, council departments, cafes, restaurants, shops, surgeries food banks and hospitals have been working together to achieve a ‘healthy, sustainable and fair” food system for Brighton & Hove.
Although our city food strategy has a 20 year vision –changing a food system is no quick and easy business – the current five year action plan is reaching its ‘use by’ date, and a majority of the actions have already been achieved.
As a city, Brighton & Hove has:
- developed a city-wide Food Poverty Action Plan to address the underlying causes of food poverty. Other cities across the country are now using this model to develop their own food poverty action plans.
- tripled the number of community gardens.
- bucked the national trend and seen a reduction in the number of children who are overweight or obese at Year 6.
- brought together caterers from all the biggest public and private sector institutions across the city to help them transform the food they serve.
- embraced innovation in our local food businesses – hiSbe, Silo, The Bevy, Street Diner, to name a few.
- led the way by being the pilot for the national Sugar Smart campaign.
- given evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Sustainable Food (2011) and on Food Waste (2017) and to the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry on hunger and food poverty (2014).
- developed a Planning Advisory Note which encourages developers to include space for food growing in new developments.
We now want to see a new citywide action plan which will continue the transformation of our food system, and take us to the point where we can apply for gold. There are a few other changes from the last action plan which we’ve yet to achieve:
- We want to be better at measuring the impact of the food strategy and have better evidence for the difference food makes, in terms of health and wellbeing, happiness, and money saved for health and social care.
- We want to ensure the benefits of having a food strategy are seen across the city, with a particular focus being around reducing inequalities.
- We would like to involve partners outside the city where this makes sense – especially in areas such as food production which don’t stop at our boundary.
- We want to involve the public more so that everyone can play their part, especially in areas such as reducing food waste and eating more veg.
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership will be organising a series of events between autumn 2017 and summer 2018 to consult with a wide range of people and organisations to feed into the new action plan. By committing to an action, you’ll be helping the city go for gold.
Please get in touch if you have ideas you would like to share; an event we should attend to help us consult; or if you want to pledge an action or a commitment. Or join in the conversation on social media – #goldfoodcitybid
This project is funded by the Esme Fairburn Foundation.