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Project diary 2004-07

The project began life in 2004 as the Hospital Food pilot project. In 2006, this was extended and became the Good Food on the Public Plate (GFPP) project, reflecting the fact that we now work to increase the amount of sustainable food used in a range of public sector organisations.

Winter 2006/Spring 2007

  • New organisations join the project, including Chalfont Epilepsy Centre, Seckford Foundation, Abbeyfield Kent society, and St Mungos.
  • New potential suppliers include Essex Wildlife Trust, Langridges, and 'Choice Organics' fruit and vegetable wholesalers.
  • The Government Office for London awards a small grant to East Anglia Food Link, which will work with GFPP to set up new buyer and supplier groups in London.
  • The project will also be working with the Greenwich Community Food Initiative to develop training for public sector catering staff from across London, with funding from the London Development Agency.

Autumn 2006

  • A working relationship with the National Association of Care Caterers is developed, including the continuation of the food sustainability group.
  • Project officers give advice to other regions of the country on setting up similar initiatives.
  • Buyer groups are developed, including one in Portsmouth.
  • Project begins to work with the Soil Association's 'GEOrgE' (Growing England's Organic Enterprises) project.
  • Project begins work with the procurement officer for the South East Food Group Partnership.
  • Project becomes involved with the London Centre of Excellence's project on Meals on Wheels.

Summer 2006

  • The project welcomes new project officer Mathew Castle.
  • Work begins to recruit new hospitals, schools and care homes.
  • Work continues with the Hospital Caterers Association, including taking part in their national conference.
  • Work begins with the London public sector food and supplies group.
  • Large-scale seminar for new buyers and suppliers takes place at Government Office for London.
  • Project involved in 'reality bites' food experiment run by the not-for-profit organisation Anti Apathy (see: http://www.antiapathy.org/?q=node/6).
  • Project presents results at Associate Parliamentary Food and Health Forum (see: http://www.fhf.org.uk/).

Spring 2006

  • The project's replication group meet for a two-day study visit, focusing on the work of the Cornwall Food Programme (see the web link).
  • The 'Harvest for Health' photographic exhibition is launched at the Royal Brompton hospital.
  • 'Scotch Bonnet' a small-scale Afro Caribbean meal provider which is being run as a social enterprise works on public procurement with the GFPP project (see: http://www.scotchbonnet.org.uk/). The (mental health) trust has set up a contract to supply authentic Afro-Caribbean meals to the South London and Maudsley trust.
  • Project results are presented at the Soil Association's 60th annual conference.
  • The project presents at the Westminster Diet and Health Forum.
  • A range of developments continue with suppliers including assistance in developing an organic and local sandwich range for one of the hospital's major suppliers, to include bio-degradable packaging.

Winter 2005

  • A joint conference is held with the King's Fund: 'Healthy Hospitals: Implementing sustainable food procurement' (see summary and findings at: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/resources/events/past_events/healthy.html).
  • The photographic exhibition 'Harvest for Health', by Sara Hannant, is launched at City Hall (see Sara Hannant's work at http://www.sarahannant.com/exhibitions.html).
  • The project participates in a Paris meeting of the 'Food, health and livelihoods' project, exchanging information with case studies from France and Italy.
  • The project's successes are presented at the Westminster Diet and Health Forum.
  • The final meetings of the Working Party and replication networks are held.
  • The final pilot project report, including the health and economic evaluations, is published (see publications link on the side of this page).
  • The project gains funding from Defra (Rural Enterprise Scheme), and The Bridgehouse Trust Fund to expand work into 20 hospitals, 5 schools and 5 care homes from across the South East. To reflect the broader range of public sector organisations, the project is renamed Good Food on the Public Plate.

Autumn 2005

  • A study visit is arranged to Helen Browning's organic farm in Wiltshire (see see: http://www.helenbrowningorganics.co.uk/).
  • Events are arranged for dietitians to discuss the links between nutrition and local and organic food, and for potential new suppliers to meet buyers, promote their products, and understand how the hospital catering system works.
  • The project marks 'British Food Fortnight' (see http://www.britishfoodfortnight.co.uk/) at an event featuring a number of suppliers working with the project, and providing information for patients, staff and visitors about British food.

Summer 2005

  • The fourth meeting of the Working Party is held.
  • The Royal Brompton exceeds the target of 10% local or organic food, six months ahead of schedule.
  • Harefield Hospital (part of same Trust as the Royal Brompton) and all the major sites of the South London and Maudsley Trust begin working on the project.
  • Links are made with the trans-Atlantic procurement project, 'Food for health, learning and livelihoods' (see http://www.sustainablefoodlab.org/article/articleview/9571/1/484) and AlimenTerra (see http://www.alimenterra.org/).
  • The replication network meets for the fourth time.

Spring 2005

  • Trials are run with organic fruit and vegetable boxes for hospital staff and visitors, with positive results.
  • Fruit is introduced into the aisles of some hospital shops, with limited success, though plans have been made to supply fruit baskets at the shop at the Royal Brompton.
  • Organic beef from Hampshire is introduced via an existing hospital supplier.
  • An artist is commissioned to take photos illustrating the hospital food from 'farm to plate', for an exhibition in autumn 2005.
  • The project works with the Hospital Caterers Association (see http://www.hospitalcaterers.org/) in their 'Choice' event, held at the Royal Brompton.

Winter 2004

  • The third Working Party meeting takes place.
  • A 'Healthy Organic Breakfast' event is held at the Royal Brompton, promoting organic porridge, low-salt baked beans (provided by a local family-run supplier), Kentish free-range eggs and vegetables, Fairtrade tea and coffee and organic bacon and sausages.
  • The supply of free-range eggs begins from Bank Farm, Kent.
  • Another seminar is held at the King's Fund for existing suppliers to explore the opportunities for providing more local and organic produce.
  • At the third meeting of the replication network there are discussions about the steps needed to transform hospital food to local and/or organic food.

Autumn 2004

  • A tour of and seminar at the New Covent Garden Market is arranged for local and organic producers and others to discuss the potential to supply hospitals through the market.
  • Experts in sustainable school meals, Jeanette Orrey and Kay Knight, give presentations at a seminar held at the King's Fund.
  • Apple Day is celebrated in the Royal Brompton to promote the local apples being supplied (for more information on Apple Day, see http://www.england-in-particular.info/orchards/o-appleday.html).
  • The Working Party meets for the second time.
  • The second replication network meeting is held.

Summer 2004

  • Organic certification training is run for the hospitals, covering essential topics such as locating organic ingredients and record keeping (for more details of organic certification, see http://www.soilassociation.org/).
  • The first new product arrives at a hospital - local tomatoes for the Royal Bethlem hospital.
  • The first round of the economic evaluation begins.
  • Hospital suppliers who attended the first seminar arranged to discuss the project were supportive, but commented that providing local/organic food for the hospitals would involve quite substantial changes to their business operations.
  • The trial of organic strawberries begins at St George's and the Royal Brompton.
  • Prince Charles visits St George's hospital.
  • The replication network holds its first meeting.
  • A report on distribution barriers is published on the Sustain website.
  • The health evaluation team begins data collection.

Spring 2004

  • The Royal Bethlem hospital replaces Lambeth hospital in the project.
  • A successful tender process occurs for the distribution research, and economic evaluation and health evaluation, to allow these aspects of the project to begin.
  • Hospital staff visit an organic horticulture enterprise and an organic dairy farm.
  • The first Working Party meeting is held.
  • Lord Whitty of Defra visits the Royal Brompton hospital.
  • There are meetings with the Purchasing and Supply Agency (see http://www.pasa.doh.gov.uk/) and with suppliers.
  • A workshop is run for producers interested in supplying the project.
  • Hospitals identify the types of local/organic products they would like.
  • The Hospital Food Project is launched.

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