Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

We advocate food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.


Latest News & Publications

Sign up to Meat Free May

Sustain member Friends of the Earth are promoting a meat-free diet during the month of May to reduce the environmental and health impacts associated with livestock production. Friends of the Earth estimate a shift to lower-meat diets in the UK could save the NHS over £1.2 billion per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With many people eating meat twice a day,  Friends of the Earth have come up with some new meat-free recipes to inspire a change in eating habits.


Food Ethics Council considers the issue of lab-grown meat

The Food Ethics Council's Business Forum recently discussed the ethical issues around cultured or lab-grown meat. In a report of the meeting the Council advocated a more open and wide-ranging debate which they said was currently dominated by scientists and a few private companies. The report warned against portraying lab-grown meat as a 'silver bullet' solution to food security problems and cautioned against the notion of an inevitable increase in consumer demand for meat.


Help promote the permaculture network

The International Permaculture Convergence is taking place in London this September and The Permaculture Association want someone from every country practising permacultue to join in. They've set up a crowdfunding project to offer scholarships to permaculture practitioners world-wide and have had over 60 international applications so far.  The conference promotes networking and sharing of ideas on permaculture, which combines ethics, ecological principles and design strategies to create healthy, productive and sustainable systems and settlements.


Pasture-Fed Livestock Assocation launches new Pasture for Life Certification Mark

A new certification mark for meat that comes from animals that only eat pasture has been launched. The Pasture-Fed Livestock Association champions the virtues of pastoral farming where animals only eat grass and forage crops. This, says the Association, produces tastier and healthier food, is environmentally friendly as it has a lower carbon footprint than cereal-fed meat and can be more profitable for farmers. Famers and butchers who follow the Association's production standards can apply the 'Pasture for Life' mark to their products. See also Sustain's guide to eating more sustainable food.


McDonald's in pay row

McDonald's recent announcement that it is to increase wages for employees at company-owned restauants (about 10% of its restaurants in the US) has been cautiously welcomed by campaigners. Others have criticised the fast food giant for leaving employees at franchisee operated restaurants without a payrise. The US minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour, McDonald's has said it will pay all employees at its company operated restaurants at least $1 more than the minimum wage. Unions are asking for a rise to $15 an hour and dismissed McDonald's annoucement as a 'publicity stunt'.


MPs call for a ban on fast food outlets in hospitals

In a recent report by Parliament's Health Select Committee MPs have called for the NHS to lead by example so that its properties are not promoting the over-consumption of energy dense nutritionally poor food. Experts told the committee that unlike smoking, where NHS is now effectively a smoke-free environment, the NHS had done little to promote healthy diets on the NHS estate and singled out those hospitals that even had fast-food outlets on their premises. Find out how you can support Sustain's campaign for Better Hospital Food.


Gardening ‘prescriptions’ keep growing

A growing number of GPs and healthcare professionals are ‘prescribing’ gardening to improve health outcomes for their patients. The health and wellbeing benefits of gardening and food growing are increasingly being recognised, leading to a rise in the number of projects being commissioned by The NHS and public health, the Growing Health project has found.
Growing Health

Could tea become a 'Hero' crop?

A coalition of businesses and organisations involved in tea production has produced the 'Tea 2030' report. Tea production faces big challenges: it is grown in countries vulnerable to climate change where it faces competition for land from other crops and limited availability of key resources like energy and water. However Tea 2030 are working together to develop solutions to these problems - they want to engage consumers to create demand for sustainable tea, give growers more control over their product and encourage the tea industry to restore ecosystems through reforestation, improving water management and increasing biodiversity.


EU milk quotas scrapped

The EU milk quota system, set up in 1984, has ended so that EU dairy businesses can compete internationally as dairy markets grow in Asia and Africa. While the European Commission have said they believe international markets like China were keen to take up European dairy products, the UK National Union of Farmers voiced concerns that this could mean further price reductions for English and Welsh dairy farmers and a return to over production and the 'milk lakes' and 'butter mountains' of the 1980s. 


Which? calls for supermarkets to publish Campylobacter plans

Consumer group Which? have launched a campaign to make all supermarkets publish the results of their Campylobacter tests. Which? have backed the Food Standards Agency, who want all supermarkets to outline their plans to tackle Campylobacter in chicken. Which? say this will help to reassure the public that supermarkets are doing everything they can to make chicken safe. Almost 30,000 people have already signed up. 


Oxfordshire hospital kitchen closures could cost local economy £3m every year

The closure of hospital kitchens at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust will mean that more than £1 million of food which can currently be spent on fresh food will now be spent instead on ready meals, creating a loss of more than £3 million in economic benefits for Oxfordshire communities. This includes the loss of local jobs and withdrawal of vital business for local businesses. Support Sustain's campaign and sign the petition to halt the closure of the hospital kitchens.

Calls for ban on sale of junk food and sugary drinks in hospitals

The British Medical Association, NHS England, MPs and leading physicians call for a ban on the sale of junk food and sugary drinks in hospitals in order that the NHS leads by example to help tackle obesity and chronic diet-related disease. Take action to improve the healthiness of hospital food by supporting Sustain's campaign.

Join the sugar march

Join the Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) as they celebrate Via Campesina’s International day of Peasant Struggle,  by marching on British Sugar PLC to expose the inequality and problems inherent in our industrial food system. Government support of big agri-businesses, like British Sugar PLC, threatens the health of our communities and the quality of our environment. And we’re subsidising exactly the wrong sort of agriculture. The March starts 1pm, 29th April from Bury St Edmunds train station.


First cities in the UK to be awarded sustainable food city status

Brighton & Hove, Cardiff, Plymouth and the London Borough of Lambeth have become the first places in the UK to be awarded Sustainable Food City status, recognising pioneering work promoting healthy and sustainable food. A rapidly growing movement is mobilising people in towns and cities across the UK transforming access to affordable and sustainable food as members of the Sustainable Food Cities Network.

Hospital food campaign BBC award nomination

Campaign for Better Hospital Food is nominated for a BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Award in the Best Initiative in British Food category.

Good Food at Work

How your organisation can improve the food within your office environment, to benefit staff, and help create a more sustainable food and farming system fit for the future.

Time to come clean about hospital food

Why the government must hand responsibility for monitoring hospital food to an independent body.



Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.