2018: Our great year for good food
In addition to London Food Link’s campaigning and project work, key elements of our mission are to join the dots between, and to throw a spotlight on, everyone involved in good food in the capital. Outgoing Jellied Eel editor Chris Young looks back on some of the year’s highlights.
One of the most visible developments for us in 2018 has been the relaunch of The Jellied Eel website and magazine. This now allows us to tell many more good food stories, as well as dusting off still-relevant features, and those of historic interest, from our archive for people to read wherever in the world they are and for long after the print edition has been snapped up from our stockists. In addition to weekly news items, website exclusives have included the first 50 of our Urban Food Heroes, food packaging recycling, going plastic-free, veggie and vegan eateries, the sugar crisis, meal replacements, and restaurant reviews.
Tying in with Sustain’s jobs website of the same name, our Roots To Work features have showcased more of the people in the field of good food, with the aim of inspiring readers to do likewise.
All mapped out
Since the birth of LFL in 2002, a query we receive over and over again is a variation of ‘where can I find…?’ To help Londoners discover people, enterprises and organisations across the capital, in July we launched our Good Food Map. Everyone who grows, makes, cooks, saves, forages, teaches, catches (this list gets longer every time we write it) good food to sell or pass on is welcome to add their details to it.
Joining the dots
Being a network, a mainstay of LFL’s work is, unsurprisingly, organising networking opportunities. In May we gathered over 50 people together for a celebration of our Urban Food Heroes at City Hall. As well as a chance to share ideas, people heard from food enterprise experts including GCDA’s Claire Pritchard, the new Chair of the London Food Board and Sarah Bentley of Made in Hackney. 'Crayfish Bob' Ring said: “For me, it was the most useful function that you've held. I think the biggest boost came from the sense of community and support. I'm used to feeling like I'm an isolated and solitary figure banging his head against a brick wall: so it's nice to be noticed, supported, and introduced to other headbangers.”
Similarly, our Get Connected afternoon at The Table Café in July helped nearly 60 producers and suppliers to, well, get connected. Feedback from this annual event is always positive, showing that it is valued by the people who come back year after year. We rounded off the year with our annual Winter Warmer at Hiver Beers’ tap room.
The seventh annual Urban Food Fortnight kicked off on the 20 September, marking the start of 17 days of celebrating and promoting food being grown, made, cooked and saved across the capital. This year featured a brand new map, on which our supporters and other friends listed 90 events, including our own Pop Up Ferments event at The Table Café, which raised over £550 for our work in London.
Strategies galore and destination #JunkFree
This year saw a series of London strategies that the LFL team trawled over to see how we could heklp to ensure that good food was featured as part of them. These including the draft London Plan, Health Inequalities Strategy and Environment Strategy. We were delighted to be involved in developing the new London Food Strategy, which includes the momentous ban on junk-food ads on the Tube and buses. Go London!
As the ‘link’ bit of our name indicates, LFL is all about collaborative working towards improving the state of the capital’s plate. In addition to our own events, once again we teamed up with Food Ethics Council, Impact Hub King’s Cross, Organico and Think.Eat.Drink. for this year’s series of Food Talks. LFL also has a seat on the Mayor of London’s advisory London Food Board, which works to help ensure that all Londoners have access to healthy and sustainable food.
On a practical front, we are a partner in Feeding The City, Impact Hub King’s Cross’s UK-wide, 12-month programme to support community-based sustainable startups that address issues in the food system. In September we launched the St. JOHN Pass It On mentoring scheme with the renowned restaurant.
Well, 2019 is going to be big. Did I mention that we have the new London Food Strategy? Yes, but it's of huge importance so I will again and Team LFL look forward to helping bring it to life. The gang will also be involved in a new round of Feeding the City, and looking to facilitating more mentoring opportunities across our network.
LFL will continue to evolve, with a new member of the team to support all of the above and more, including work on food poverty and our annual Good Food for London report, as well as exciting new work on Good Food Retail and the return of the Urban Food Awards.
Sound tasty? Tuck in!