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2012 updates on food supply and distribution

The Food Supply & Distribution strand of Making Local Food Work completed its work at the end of March 2012. This quarter we have therefore been concentrating on finalising a number of reports to share what we have learned.

The Healthy Profit and IT report on IT systems for small-scale food organisations are now published and available on the Sustain and Making Local Food Work websites. The remaining reports are all in their final edit stage and we expect them to be published in the spring. In addition, the independent evaluation of the strand has been published. We are currently working on a response that explores what Sustain has learned from the programme and how this will affect its work with community food projects and enterprises in the future. This paper will be published shortly.

Working with specialist enterprise consultant Maurice McCartney, Sustain convened a group of funders, community food experts, grant funders and lenders to explore ways in which the community food sector can raise money in the future. Three meetings of this working group have been held to date and a report summarising the discussions and setting out recommendations for further action will be finalised before the summer.

We have continued organising a series of regional events to present the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) food web mapping research and to explore issues around food and planning. These events will take place in April and May, including one organised by Suzanne for 9 May in Norwich.

We have also produced a briefing for Ciria (Construction Industry Research and Information Association) on how the construction industry can support more community food growing, and contributed to the Town and Country Planning Association’s guidance for local authorities on green infrastructure and climate change.

We are negotiating with the Plunkett Foundation (coordinator of MLFW) and other national partners to develop an initiative to help strengthen membership networks that assist community food enterprises to thrive. We propose to work with a group of specialist organisations, those that run a community food membership network, and which offer a range of support services for their members. We aim to run a series of workshops, plus (potentially) tailored individual assistance provided separately by the Social Enterprise Support strand of Making Local Food Work.

Over the next few months we will be contacting potential participants to discuss their needs and to help shape the project further.


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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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