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History of the Food Access Network

Sustain has worked on food poverty for many years, or what we now prefer to call access for everybody to good food. Here are some of the Food Access Network activities and successes over the period 1994 to 2008.

  • 2008 – the Food Access Network - UK merges with Food Links UK to become the new Local Action on Food network, combining the shared expertise of people and groups working to alleviate food poverty with that of people and groups working to improve connections between farmers, food growers and local communities. .
  • 2006 – Food Poverty Project became the Food Access Network UK, after consulting its network on a new name.
  • 2006 – Gave oral evidence to the Competition Commission’s Inquiry into the Grocery Market.
  • 2006 – Coordinated the first food poverty UK Food Liaison event, Spreading Success, Sharing Solutions, in Birmingham.
  • 2006 – Established the London Food Access Forum to share information and pursue the recommendations in the Mayor’s London Food Strategy.
  • 2005 – Continued to develop links with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and Ireland by, for example, speaking at events and running workshops. 
  • 2004 – 2005 - Consulted community food projects around the UK on the potential of social enterprise and produced a report and an online social enterprise toolkit.
  • 2003 – Held a national conference in London on Making Links: community food projects and networking.
  • 2002 – Organised the Poverty Bites policy seminar.
  • 2001 – Produced a review of food projects in Wales, commissioned by the Food Standards Agency, Wales and used by them to inform the development of its nutrition strategy.
  • 2000 – Developed an updated toolkit with detailed information on how to set up and develop a community food project. 
  • 1999 – 2001
    • Organised five community seminars across the country to increase awareness of the project’s work, to stimulate development of networks between existing food poverty workers and to reflect local priorities in each area.
    • Organised a second set of seminars in five counties due to popular demand.
    • Launched a pioneering Community Mapping project, empowering communities to analyse their local food economies and identify locally generated solutions.
  • 1996 – The Food Poverty Project was born, providing Food Poverty Network members with a regular newsletter, a growing database of contacts, regional conferences, and authoritative publications.
  • 1995 – Sustain (then as part of activities of the National Food Alliance, which merged with the SAFE to form Sustain) ran a series of regional conferences on food and low income, which highlighted the need for a forum where food poverty workers could meet, discuss issues and gain support for their work. The Food Poverty Network was established, to keep those working on food poverty issues in touch.
  • 1994 – The National Food Alliance developed the successful Food and Low Income pack. The pack’s popularity demonstrated the high level of concern about food poverty and the large number of people involved in food projects.

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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.

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