Sustain has continued to support local partners in running local food hubs and food centres to distribute local and sustainable food to their communities. Brief summaries of these activities are as follows:
- Local Food Links (Bridport, Dorset) reports that its work under the MLFW programme has proved to be extremely successful in increasing and improving the supply and distribution of local food to over 4,000 children and older people in Dorset. Sustain commissioned an evaluation report from the centre’s founder Tim Crabtree. His report looks back over the ten years of immense challenges and creative solutions, including outline plans for the future.
- Food Chain NE (Gateshead, Tyneside) reports that it has continued successfully to supply and distribute fresh food, as much as possible from local sources, to disadvantaged areas of the north east with significant food access problems. Sustain has been successful in securing an additional grant for Food Chain NE for the coming year.
- OrganicLea (Walthamstow, East London) has continued to focus on improving the viability of the community café and increasing the number of residents to benefit from local food through the local food stall, outreach events and the vegetable box scheme.
Workers at the Glazebury project (Manchester, linked to Unicorn Grocery) have been very busy establishing their organic food growing on this large site and they also found time to hold the project’s first open days. Interest in the project from volunteers and visitors has been encouragingly high, with 120 visitors
to the project in its first year.
- Colne Valley Food (Hillingdon, West London) reports that it has continued to make impressive progress towards developing a new food enterprise in this green belt area, supporting farmers who are farming in this protected landscape.
The Food Suppy & Distribution strand of the Making Local Food Work programme also welcomes two new local partners this quarter:
- Growing Communities (based in Hackney), to support their UK-wide Start-up Programme. This will help other communities to set up successful sustainable food trading enterprises that can support farmers, as well as generate sufficient profits to subsidise urban food growing and other community-based activities.
- The Kindling Trust (a network based in Manchester), to support a new Manchester Organic Growers group, taking a collaborative approach to marketing and distributing locally grown organic food.
This strand of the MLFW programme is providing Lottery funding to six food hub projects in areas as ethnically and geographically diverse as inner city London and rural Dorset. Local produce is reaching a range of audiences from schoolchildren to older people, through sheltered housing and other schemes, and all projects are exploring a range of potential outlets.
We have also been working extensively with the social enterprise Growing Communities in Hackney on developing their new start-up support programme, to help other communities replicate their impressive self-financing food trading scheme that provides sustainably produced food to over 3,000 people every week. The group has now received over 20 applications for their first five places on the replication programme, due to start in the autumn.
On 27 April we met with representatives of ten local authorities to share information on their food growing work. We have since established an online forum to continue to share information and also plan future meetings to be hosted by the boroughs on food issues they are working on.
We have also continued to contribute to the development of the London Plan by applying to make a representation and developing a position paper to be presented at the Examination in Public in July and in September. The picture above shows London Food Link project officer Suzanne Natelson, and Sustain's policy director Kath Dalmeny at London's City Hall where the Examination in Public took place.
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