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Project history

After publishing a landmark sustainable food procurement manual for the public sector, GFPP was born when we teamed up with the Soil Association in 2004 to demonstrate good practice. Working first with four London hospitals we increased the proportion of their catering supplies from sustainable sources, including locally grown fruit and vegetables, free range eggs, and organic milk, beef and oatmeal.  Due to the success of this pilot project, we secured funding in 2006 to expand the project to around twenty hospitals from around the south east of England.

In 2007 GFPP began its work with the Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency (GCDA) during which we helped to train over 2,500 of the capital’s public sector buyers and caterers in buying and preparing healthy and sustainable food.  This ‘Good Food Training for London’ continues to be run by GCDA. 

As well as continuing to work with hospitals, in 2008, a new phase of GFPP broadened its scope to include London’s local authorities, universities, schools, prisons, government departments and care homes.  Since then, we have helped many organisations to develop sustainable food procurement policies, and to find, audit and broker new and more sustainable food supply chains.  Many influential public sector caterers are rightly proud of the sustainable food policies we have helped them adopt and showcase, including London Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade and Transport for London.

Recognising the power of collaborative purchasing, GFPP helped to establish groups of organisations which benefit from joint contracts to buy tasty, healthy and sustainable food – including meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables, frozen food and other groceries – at a fair price.  These include the ‘Chelsea Cluster’ of the Royal Brompton and Royal Marsden hospitals, Imperial College, Lambeth Hospital and Thamesbrook Care Home and the larger ‘London Cluster’ buying consortium. Independent assessors showed that GFPP contributed to some £1.4m of sustainable food being bought by London’s public sector during 2010.

As part of the London Food Board’s ‘London Food Strategy’, the Greater London Authority hosted GFPP Awards ceremonies in 2009, 2010 and 2012 to celebrate and entrench good practice.  The project’s influence is now widely recognised, contributing to the sustainable food standards adopted by the organisers of the Olympic and Parlaympic Games and leading to a host of campaigns seeking to make sustainable food and farming the norm.  

It inspired, for example, the Food Legacy campaign to help more caterers and food suppliers achieve the ambitions of the London 2012 Food Vision and led to our successful Sustainable Fish City and Good Food for Our Money campaigns.  Given GFPP’s initial focus on hospitals, it is fitting that Sustain has now launched the Campaign for Better Hospital Food which is calling for legally binding standards for all hospital food.

Our sincere thanks go to the organisations that have funded GFPP over the last eight years and to our Project Officers, Jon Walker, Louise Maxwell Symington, Rosie Blackburn, Pam Brunton, Keena Duignan, Fiona Cairncross and Emma Hockridge for their tireless dedication.

For detailed information about GFPP’s work over the years, please read our chronological project update archives.


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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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