London. Credit: Mike | Pexels

In our annual Beyond the Food Bank and Good Food for London league tables and series of good food maps, we shine a light on each council's approach to food partnerships, household food insecurity and the wider food economy.

Council responses to the cost-of-living crisis - this year we asked councils to share information about how they are responding to the cost-of-living crisis, and detail any strategies and initiatives to support residents, local voluntary and community sector and businesses.  

Joined-up action on food (Sustainable Food Places) - looks at the Council's approach to joined-up working and collaboration on food issues, to improve the healthiness and sustainability of food for all Londoners.

Food poverty alliances and collaborative approaches - assesses council action and activity around food poverty alliances partnerships and plans, ensuring there is attached accountability.

Cash-first approaches to addressing food poverty - reviews what council action is being taken to maximise household income for lower-income families, using cash-first approaches to tackle household food insecurity.

Food access - looks at how councils are ensuring that there is targeted provision and access for specific groups within local communities and how these activities might be addressing inequalities.

Children’s food - reviews what councils are doing to ensure that all children have the start that they deserve, including in school settings.

Healthier food environments - from schools, workplaces and communities to catering, high streets and advertising hoardings, our measures of a healthier food environment encompass areas that affect the lives and health of all Londoners.

Good food economy - reviews how councils are joining up work on improving the local economy and regeneration, with the availability of affordable, healthy and sustainable food including any work undertaken under the Good Food Retail agenda.

Food growing - looks at the approach the council is taking to enhance and increase opportunities to grow food across the borough, as well as the amount of land available for food production.

Climate and nature emergency and food - reviews commitments and actions taken on food to tackle the climate and nature emergency including signing up to the Every Mouthful Counts Toolkit.

The report is a valuable resource to support councils and food partnerships to identify where to take action on critical food issues that affect the food system as a whole.

It also includes case studies to celebrate good practice and a league table to celebrate acheivements and benchmark performance year on year to give a wider view of progress.

As in previous years, Sustain designed a survey to collect the information used and scored in this report, based on our decades of close work with councils on food issues. External partners and feedback from councils were used to shape criteria. All councils in London were invited to complete a survey and self-report on action taken and future plans. Where available, data from external sources has been included for councils that did not respond to our survey.

The scoring and maps show three levels of action based on survey responses: foundations, good practice and leadership. For some measures, we identified actions to indicate a council’s progress level; for some measures, it was the total number of actions taken that was used to determine the level.

The league tables provide an overview of council performance in each theme (indicated by colours), how they ranked comparatively (indicated by order and percentage score), with an indication of councils who achieved overall leadership.

To qualify for leadership overall, councils cannot have a zero mark in any of the themes, and can only have a minimal amount of foundation levels (only two to qualify for leadership in the Beyond the Food Bank chapter, and one to qualify for the Good Food for London chapter).

Celebrating the good work taking place across the capital is an important part of this report. We have worked with several councils to put together inspiring case studies to showcase the innovative work they are doing to help residents to access healthy, affordable and sustainable food.

All case studies

Good Food for All Londoners is produced by London Food Link

London Food Link is the umbrella for all of Sustain's initiatives in London. Our work includes helping to influence local government policy, hands-on food growing training, running sessions for public sector caterers, creating guidance for independent eateries and food producers, public awareness campaigns, and joining the dots between people around specific food issues.

We are particularly grateful to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, ReLondon and the Soil Association for their support and to the Trust for London and the Mayor of London for funding this work.

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