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2011 updates

Winter 2011

In November, University College London introduced its first ever sustainable food policy and is now working with catering supplier, Chartwells, on a wide range of sustainability issues. We have also met with King’s College and will be helping them to develop a food policy in the New Year.

Preparation for the annual awards is now well under way. The event will take place at City Hall on 15 March and as well as public sector organisations, this year the awards have been opened to private sector caterers, including suppliers of ‘real bread’. We are expecting to give 25 awards this year.

We are pleased that Lambeth College, Brunel University, The School of Oriental and African Studies, Imperial College and the Royal Marsden Hospital have all confirmed that they will host a Feel Good Food day in January or February 2012. We have sent surveys to primary schools in two LA supported boroughs (Camden and Havering) and in two non-LA supported boroughs to research the effect of withdrawing support on the health and sustainability standards of school meals. The response rate was good (around 25 %) for three out of the four boroughs. We have also conducted a series of telephone and face-to-face interviews which will provide both background research and in-depth case studies. A report is being drafted.

Tenders for grocery supplies and for frozen products are expected to be advertised in January from a number of boroughs who will be purchasing collectively as part of the London cluster. The combined value over four years will be over £10 million.

Funding for this project is due to finish at the end of March 2012 and currently, there are no prospects for additional funding. However we are taking forward some tentative plans for work on collaborative contracts.

Autumn 2011

We are delighted that Louise Maxwell joined Sustain in August as Good Food on the Public Plate Project Officer. As a State Registered Dietitian with a Masters Degree in Sustainability, Louise brings a fresh perspective to the project.  In addition to co-ordinating Sustainable Fish City, Jon Walker will continue to advise and contribute to the project, which is funded until March 2012.

In the last quarter we have given presentations about sustainable food and its procurement in the public sector to the London School Nutrition Group, the London Fire Brigade and Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency’s Sustainable Catering Conference, at which Louise also led a workshop on sustainable food policy.

We continue to work towards the project milestones agreed with the Greater London Authority (GLA), including:

- supporting the development of a collaborative grocery and frozen food tender for the London Cluster, led by the London Borough of Havering. 
- working with public sector institutions that sub-contract their catering to introduce sustainable food policies - we have recently had positive discussions with University College London and the Institute of Psychiatry. 
- preparing promotional materials for a new round of Feel Good Food days, in which public sector institutions showcase their sustainable food approaches to their customers.
- promoting sustainable fish as part of public sector institutions’ food sustainability standards – Jon has supported a sustainable fish lunch session at the University of East London and will has arranged to visit many more universities in the next quarter.

We have expanded the meat and dairy section of our Healthy and Sustainable Food Policy Template to provide more guidance on healthy and sustainable portion sizes, and updated our information sustainable fish with respect to tinned tuna.

Two sets of research concerned with supporting healthy and sustainable food procurement in schools are now underway.  The first, which will lead to support documentation to attract schools into the buying London Cluster is being informed by a number of interviews undertaken with Borough managers and school staff in Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Camden and Islington.  The second, which will assess the affect on schools of the withdrawal of local authority central catering services involves written questionnaires, phone and face-to-face interviews with primary school head teachers / catering staff in two London boroughs where support has been withdrawn (Hillingdon and Hackney) and in two boroughs with different models of central support (Camden and Islington).

Spring 2011

Forty-five chefs and catering staff from a wide range of organisations, including Transport for London, Metropolitan Police, the Heart Hospital and some London universities attended a training day at Westminster Kingsway catering college. The day focused on the link between cheap meat, large portions, human health, farm animal welfare and environmental concerns about animal feed. The discussions were backed up by demonstrations on using less but better meat. The day ended with a meal which we had adapted to contain less but better meat.

The meat tender is in its final stages. The last stage in the process prior to supply will be a report and sign off from the lead authority, Havering’s council.

The final report to the Greater London Authority (GLA) for the period April 2010-March 2011 has been submitted, with all our targets met or exceeded. We are awaiting the contract to confirm that the project will continue for a further year, but with funding reduced to allow only one full time member of staff instead of two, as originally envisaged.


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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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