Brighton & Hove was one of the first cities in the UK to take a citywide, strategic approach to food issues. It is a model that is now being replicated elsewhere across the country.
'Spade to Spoon: Digging Deeper' - a food strategy and action plan for Brighton & Hove
Launched in 2006, refreshed in 2012, Spade to Spoon: Digging Deeper sets out how collectively as a city we will achieve a vision of a healthy, sustainable and fair food system for Brighton & Hove. The strategy aims to tackle health inequalities, reduce food poverty, support local food businesses and reduce the environmental impact of the way we produce, consume and dispose of food.
The strategy has been adopted by Brighton & Hove City Council and the Local Strategic Partnership and is inspiring work in other cities.
Clare Devereux, Director at Food Matters said: "Experience in Brighton and Hove has shown just what can be achieved if you get the right individuals and organisations together to develop a common vision of how they want to change their food system and then support them in turning that vision into reality. For many years, Brighton and Hove has been ahead of the game, but it is amazing how quickly and enthusiastically other towns and cities are now adopting similar approaches and starting to catch up."
How to develop a food strategy
Sustainable Food Cities have written an overview on how to develop a food plan (pdf).
Spade to Spoon includes an ambitious but practical action plan involving over 50 partners in its delivery. Across the city a diverse range of people are taking action – volunteers on community growing projects, staff in schools, universities, nurseries and children's centres, caterers serving thousands of meals, council planners, local businesses and health practitioners are all working on the actions they agreed to. The Food Partnership's role is to drive delivery of the strategy, report on progress, and deliver some of the actions.
How the food strategy is making things happen
Our food strategy is deliberately ambitious, with many different actions across each of the nine aims. The aims have been embedded in many other policies and strategies across the city.
Aim 1 – People in Brighton & Hove eat a healthier and more sustainable diet
Aim 2 – All residents have access to nutritious, affordable, sustainable food
Aim 3 – The city has a vibrant, sustainable food economy of thriving local businesses, local products and employment opportunities
Aim 4 – Public organisations have healthy, ethical and environmentally responsible food procurement policies and practices
Aim 5 – More food consumed in the city is grown, produced and processed locally using methods that protect biodiversity and respect environmental limits
Aim 6 – Waste generated by the food system is reduced, redistributed, reused and recycled
Aim 7 – Local and sustainable food is promoted and celebrated by residents and visitors
Aim 8 – High-quality information, support and training on sustainable food and nutrition issues is readily available, and there are networking opportunities to encourage links between sectors
Aim 9 – Local policy and planning decisions take into account food issues, and the city is engaged with national campaigns
By taking small steps in several different areas at the same time, we aim to bring about systemic change. We see our action plan as a living document and new priorities develop as older ones are achieved or are no longer relevant.
In 2013, we wrote a short progress update (pdf) which reports on progress so far.
Read Bioregional's blog on the Brighton & Hove food strategy.
Our Food Strategy and Policy work is all kindly funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.