Sustain / Food Poverty / Taking local action

Develop an alliance and action plan to tackle food poverty

Tackling the root causes of food poverty locally requires a coordinated approach. This can increase expertise, resource and capacity to ensure no one goes hungry and prevent organisations or projects from being overwhelmed by the scale of the problem. Coordinated approaches can take a number of forms. At Sustain we support the following:

Food poverty alliances

A food poverty alliance is a partnership of organisations, usually from across the public, voluntary, community, faith and sometimes private sectors, who commit to working together to tackle food poverty in their local community.

These alliances can take different forms. Some are sub-groups of pre-existing food partnerships whilst others have recently emerged from coordinating responses to Covid-19. Alliances share responsibility for their sustainability, funding, reaching out to organisation that might be harder to engage and maintaining momentum, even during periods of lower funding.

Through working together, those involved can achieve more than they could by acting separately, like developing a Healthy Start veg box; setting up a food pantry, delivering an emergency food response during Covid-19; and trialling models for building local food resilience such as this food resilience toolkit.

Food poverty action plans

Local food poverty action plans allow local authorities, community organisations and other partners to work together to identify risks, assess the current response and coordinate action.

Cardiff’s plan set a vision for an active network of pantries; Cambridge set out to ensure children’s access to food 365 days a year; Southwark developed their 5 baskets approach; Aberdeen planned to promote the city as one that cooks, eats and grows together; And Shropshire created their menu for action to build awareness of food poverty and embed it within council and NHS policy.

The plans allow information to be shared, enable partners to learn from each other, make effective use of available funds and other resources, and avoid duplication.

What can you do locally?

You can help develop food poverty alliances and action plans in your area to increase coordinated action. Here’s how

  • Check our map to see if there is a food poverty alliance in your area already and if so, get in contact with them and see how you can support their work.
  • Contact any neighbouring food poverty alliances to discuss their journey, share learning and find opportunities for collaboration.
  • Establish your own food poverty alliance and action plan. Find resources below to help you with this.
  • Involve experts with lived experience of food poverty.

What needs to be done nationally?

MPs need to know about the work being delivered locally and the national policies in place that are hindering progress.

  • Contact your MP and let them know about the national barriers undermining your work and lobby them to change that. You can do this by writing a letter to them expressing your concerns, asking them to ask a question in parliament to raise these issues, signing a petition or an open letter, contacting the local press to share the work they are doing on this issue or inviting them to visit your work in action. This guide on how to write to your MP might be helpful.

Resources

Developing a food poverty alliance and action plan

Researching food poverty in your local area

Organising a food poverty workshop, conference or summit

Food Poverty: Over 5 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. We’re working to change that through people-powered projects and campaigns that tackle the root causes of food poverty and ensure everyone has dignified access to healthy, affordable food.

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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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