Ten London Boroughs (out of a total of 33) have been praised for “making excellent progress on key food issues” and "creating an inspiring food legacy for London 2012". Islington and Richmond leading the way, and also Camden, Croydon, Enfield, Greenwich, Merton, Sutton, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
The Good Food for London 2011 report, published by London Food Link in November 2011, contains seven maps comparing progress on key food issues by London Boroughs. It shows that leading London Boroughs are supporting community food growing, improving school food, helping residents reduce food waste, encouraging local food outlets to use healthier ingredients, and buying ethical food in schools and local authority canteens, including Fairtrade products, free range eggs and sustainable fish.
“This is the first time that such a thorough audit has been undertaken of what London Boroughs are doing to support good food,” said Kath Dalmeny, policy director of Sustain, an alliance of food and farming organisations. “It is inspiring to see that almost a third of London’s Boroughs have taken significant steps towards improving London’s food system on food issues that will also be championed by the organisers of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. If all London Boroughs took the simple, affordable and effective action surveyed, it would significantly improve the health and well-being of Londoners, the livelihoods of farmers and other food providers, and the sustainability of the food system on which we all depend. What an inspiring legacy that would be for London 2012."
The Good Food for London report has been sent to all 33 Heads of London Councils, local planning authorities and health, environment and procurement departments, encouraging them to take part. Find out how your London Borough fared and view maps of progress of action on good food at: http://www.sustainweb.org/londonfoodlink.org/good_food_for_london
1. Good Food for London report is published by London Food Link (www.londonfoodlink.org), a network of people and organisations working to promote healthy and sustainable food for London, with support from independent organisations that promote healthy and sustainable food, members of the London Food Board and the Chair of the London Food Board, Rosie Boycott. The Good Food for London report can be downloaded at www.sustainweb.org/londonfoodlink/good_food_for_london/, where maps comparing London Borough progress on key food issues can be explored online. London Food Link is a project of Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, a registered charity no. 1018643.
2. The seven key food issues surveyed in the Good Food for London report are:
- Community food growing: London Borough support for the Capital Growth campaign, backed by the Mayor of London, Sustain and the Big Lottery, that aims to create 2,012 new community food growing spaces for London by the end of 2012. Over 1,300 food growing spaces have already been created, many of which have been made possible by London Borough support, with 22 Boroughs already actively involved. See: www.capitalgrowth.org
- Fairtrade food: Fairtrade guarantees a better income for food producers in poor countries. London Boroughs can buy and promote Fairtrade food, to help tackle global poverty, and 22 out of London’s 33 Boroughs now have Fairtrade status, making London the largest Fairtrade City in the world. See: www.fairtradelondon.org.uk
- Food for Life in schools: The Food for Life Partnership (www.foodforlife.org.uk) helps schools improve food quality, education and introduce food growing, with proven benefits for children’s health and educational attainment. The Food for Life Catering Mark works with caterers to improve food standards, and 17 London Boroughs so far have achieved a Bronze Catering Mark, with 8 impressively going on to achieve a Silver award. See: www.soilassociation.org/cateringmark/
- Sustainable Fish City: Seventeen London Boroughs have taken at least one significant action (four have taken at least two) to help save marine life and ocean ecosystems. Action may include buying sustainable fish for Council meals and other publicly funded institutions, and running the Fish & Kids project (free of charge) to promote Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable fish in school catering. See: www.sustainablefishcity.net.
- Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards: Run by Compassion in World Farming, these awards celebrate commitments by food companies and local authorities to buying higher welfare eggs, meat and dairy produce. Nine London Boroughs have achieved a Good Egg Award for using free range eggs, with more using these for school catering. See: www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com/awards
- Healthier Catering Commitment: This initiative has been designed by environmental health teams in London Boroughs with support from primary care trusts (PCTs), the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and the Greater London Authority. It offers practical advice to food outlets to make food healthier. The scheme is promoted by environmental health teams and PCTs, with 20 London Boroughs participating, see: www.cieh.org/healthier-catering-commitment.html
- Food Waste: In the UK, households throw away a shocking 8.3 million tonnes of food every year, causing considerable environmental problems. London Boroughs can help reduce this food waste by providing comprehensive kitchen food waste collection services for London’s households. Boroughs can also promote the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign (www.lovefoodhatewaste.com), sign the Feeding the 5,000 Pledge, and engage with the Food Waste Pyramid for London programme, promoting this to local businesses, see: www.feeding5k.org.
Information is also provided in the survey on opportunities for London Boroughs to help: Improve health; Support farmers; Reduce poverty; Save money by buying food collaboratively and helping residents do so too; Build good food skills; Protect consumers; Promote local shops and markets; Plan ahead; and Create a Food Legacy from London 2012 to be proud of.
3. London Boroughs were assessed for their involvement in the good food schemes listed above (note 2) and what they have achieved through their participation: 7 points were available for full participation in all 7 schemes listed, with half-marks available for London Boroughs demonstrating good or excellent progress. See: www.sustainweb.org/londonfoodlink/2011_which_london_boroughs_are_showing_leadership/:
- Top scorers were Islington (7 points) and Richmond-upon-Thames (6).
- Making excellent progress were Camden (5.5 points), Croydon (6 – noting that Croydon Council’s school meal service is changing, so this score may change shortly), Enfield (5), Greenwich (5.5), Merton (5.5), Sutton (5.5), Tower Hamlets (5) and Waltham Forest (5.5).
- Lagging behind were Bexley (1.5 points), Brent (2), Hillingdon (0.5), Lewisham (2), Newham (2) and Westminster (1.5).
- All other London Boroughs scored between 2.5 and 4.5 out of a total possible 7 points.