As well as coordinating and reporting on the city’s food strategy, the Food Partnership ensures food is written into other citywide policies and activity.
How do we influence policy?
1) We build relationships with key policy-makers and institutions so we’re best placed to ensure food is embedded in the city’s policy documents to create real and lasting change. This can be as simple as networking with the right people at events or going to the right meeting and making sure our voice is heard. As a result, food has now been included within these city-wide policies and strategies:
- For the first time in 2014 a dedicated food section was included in the over-arching Sustainable Communities Strategy for the city.
- Food poverty has been included in the city’s Financial Inclusion Strategy which focuses on how to support financially excluded residents
- Local food is also included within the City Plan Part 1 (the planning framework)
- Food poverty, obesity, mental health and food are all included within the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (pdf)
- Healthy weight and good nutrition are seen as priority areas within the local Health and Wellbeing Strategy (pdf)
- Food is a key component of the One Planet Living Strategy & Action Plan (pdf)
- Food and community growing are included in the city’s Mental Health and Happiness Strategy
- Targets for sustainable food policies have been included within the Corporate Procurement Strategy (pdf)
2) We act as a partner in others’ projects and activity or do jointly funded pieces of work. For example, we worked with Brighton & Hove City Council on both the development of a Planning Advisory Note (pdf) to incorporate community food growing into new residential developments, and on the development of Minimum Buying Standards (pdf) for all council catering contracts. We also worked with Brighton & Hove Allotment Federation, Brighton & Hove City Council and the Public Health Team on the production of an Allotment Strategy to ensure that the city’s large allotment community (3000+ plot holders) thrives.
3) We respond to consultations locally, anything that is relevant to our work and where we feel food should play a role, for example the consultation for the City Plan, or a consultation regarding the future of Children’s Centres.
4) We respond to national consultations where we feed back our position or experience from Brighton & Hove. For example, we responded to Defra’s consultation around the development of a British Food Plan as we wanted to share with them our experience of developing Minimum Buying Standards for the local council’s catering contracts.
5) We’ve given evidence at the All Party Parliamentary Enquiry on Hunger and Food Poverty (2014) and at the House of Commons Select Committee on Sustainable Food (2011)
6) We hold seats on a number of strategic boards and partnerships which have an influence on food or food systems, including the Local Strategic Partnership, Biosphere Board, City Downland Advisory Board, Healthy Weight Programme Board, Adult Learning Group, Advice Services Network and the Fairtrade Steering Committee.
Recently we worked with the Food Partnership and Food Matters to produce a pioneering Food Growing and Development Planning Advice Note. The document is now achieving extraordinary success in delivering food growing in new developments, weaving this into the city in the form of fruit trees, productive landscaping and community allotment gardens.
Martin Randall, Head of Planning Public Protection, Brighton & Hove City Council
Our Food Strategy and Policy work is all kindly funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.