Recommended reading (and listening!)
"Our vision aims to seize the opportunity to use the transformational power of the Games to celebrate and promote the variety and quality of British regional food; to inspire lasting, positive and sustainable change in the event, catering and hospitality sectors, and to contribute to the growing public agenda on healthy living."
Extract from the London 2012 Food Vision
Organisations interested in the London 2012 Food Vision and legacy
The London Food Board is taking a keen interest in the development of the London 2012 Food Strategy. It is an opportunity to promote healthy food, ethical and sustainable farming and food businesses, and good food training, which are key elements of the London Food Strategy. The Chair of the London Food Board (also the Mayor's food advisor) is Rosie Boycott, who is a member of LOCOG’s Food Advisory Group.
The London Assembly Environment Committee (2008) quizzed the London 2012 Games organisers about their plans for making the Olympic preparations and event as sustainable as possible. Their report, ‘The Environmental Sustainability of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games’, states that the London Assembly Environment Committee would like to see the Olympic organisers “promote local and organic produce, encourage reduced consumption of animal protein and minimise packaging”.
During 2009, the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 is conducting a review of food and beverage across the London 2012 programme to "assess whether the London 2012 Programme has maximised the benefits that a sustainable food strategy can bring in terms of health, local economy, the event / hospitality sector, celebrating cultural diversity, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions". Read a BBC London article, Food, Glorious Food? written by Shaun McCarthy of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, reflecting on what London 2012 could learn from the Beijing Olympic Games, and how the London 2012 could aim to promote London’s diverse food culture, food sustainability and food growing.
In January 2011, Sustain launched the Sustainable Fish City campaign, working with colleagues at Fish2Fork, the Environmental Justice Foundation, Marine Conservation Society, Marine Stewardship Council and the Seafood Choices Alliance (which coordinates Good Catch). This builds on the success of persuading the London 2012 Games organisers to specify demonstrably sustainable fish in their catering contracts. Launched with the support of the London Mayor's food advisor Rosie Boycott, organisations that have signed the Sustainable Fish City pledge to specify sustainable fish in their catering contracts and to promote sustainable fish to their customer already include the National Trust; 15 top London universities; the D&D group of London restaurants; Moshi Moshi; Wahaca; the Duke of Cambridge gastropub; and some of the largest caterers in the UK. The same standards have also been adopted by Central Government for food served in Whitehall, Number Ten, government departments, prisons and some parts of the armed forces. To protect fish stocks and marine ecosystems, these have all pledged to follow the campaign’s simple advice: “Exclude the worst, promote the best and improve the rest.”
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) praised London 2012 for commitment to One Planet Living and sustainable food, and UNEP has since adopted its own sustainable fish policy for UN catering at events and meetings.
The sustainability policy organisation Bioregional helped London 2012 to write the original bid. Read more about their One Planet Living approach, which includes sustainable food.
Feeding the Olympics
In 2007, Sustain worked with the Soil Association and the New Economics Foundation to publish Feeding the Olympics: how and why the food for London 2012 should be local, organic and ethical. The report can be downloaded free of charge here (click on the link or graphic).
Radio 4 Food Programme
The Radio 4 Food Programme is tracking the progress of Olympic food. Two programmes have so far been broadcast, each featuring commentary by Sustain’s policy director Kath Dalmeny (who also sits on LOCOG’s Food Advisory Group):
- Sport and Food: How major catering businesses are improving the quality and sustainability of food served at sporting events.
- Olympic Food: With thousands of construction workers already arriving in East London to build the Olympic stadium, Sheila Dillon finds out about ambitious plans to improve the healthiness and sustainability of their meals.