Sustain project reports
July – September 2015

Ambassador Network
Contact Maria Deveraux,

  • An experienced project officer has been appointed
  • Ambassador profiles and event locations have been confirmed
  • A recruitment and communications strategy has been agreed

Maria Devereaux, part-time coordinator of Sustain’s Growing Health project, has now been appointed as project officer and will be working with the team at the Eden Project to help implement the Ambassadors programme as part of Wellcome Trust’s year of activities, experiences and discussions about our food, our health and our planet.

We will be recruiting at least 500 Ambassadors. We will be looking for passionate people of all ages and from all walks of life to kick-start conversations around our food, our health and our planet, with free resources and networking opportunities from the following backgrounds(but not limited to these):

  • Community project leaders
  • Public health teams / Healthcare professionals
  • Researchers / academics
  • Students / apprentices
  • Farmers / Farm education network
  • Youth workers / uniform groups leaders

Events for ambassadors will be taking place in the following 15 locations: Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cornwall, Glasgow, Hull, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford. The soft launch, with the website going live will happen early November. To recruit our Ambassadors we will be using the following channels: direct networking, local promotion, events and social media. If you or anyone in your organisation is interested in becoming an Ambassador, please email Maria.


Big Dig 
Contact Sarah Williams,

  • Manchester and Birmingham launch Harvest-ometer to measure value of food grown by community gardens
  • Edible Gardens Open Day takes place in 60 gardens in London and Manchester

Following the launch of the Harvest-ometer in Manchester – with Sow the City and the council’s Growing Manchester programme, to help the cities food growers measure the value of their harvest – over 30 gardens registered. These community groups are now featured on an online map that promotes their projects to potential volunteers as well as enabling them to access the Harvest-ometer. Birmingham also launched the map and Harvest-ometer through the Growing Birmingham initiative and has already had 20 groups register to record their harvest. We commend Sarah for all the work she put into creating the excellent Harvest-ometer.

Edible Gardens took place on 19 September in London and Manchester with over 50 gardens involved in London through Capital Growth and seven in Manchester, promoting their projects and celebrating the season’s harvest to residents.


Campaign for Better Hospital Food
Contact Katherine Button (after 6 October),

  • An audit is planned of the new hospital food standards to find out how tough they really are and how well compliance is being monitored
  • We are reviewing the local campaigns in Oxford and Liverpool to see what has been achieved and what is still to campaign for
  • We have recruited Katherine Button to the post of campaign officer

Campaign coordinator Alex Jackson moved on from Sustain in the summer to become head of European campaigns and policy for Compassion in World Farming. We are delighted to welcome Katherine Button to coordinate the new phase of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, from a background in government policy and press work. She will join the Sustain team at the beginning of October.

Over the past year, the Campaign for Better Hospital Food has helped win new national hospital food standards, embedding regulations on food and nutrition into the NHS Standard Contract, based on the Government Buying Standards that we had previously campaign extensively on, with the help of Sustain members. We have also helped secure local hospital food CQUINs, a mechanism to provide a financial incentive for hospitals to improve the food they serve. Building on these achievements, our aims are now to find out what impact these standards are having on the quality of hospital food, whether there is room for improvement in uptake and monitoring and how we can tighten up hospital compliance.

There have been downs as well as ups. Sadly, Oxford’s NHS Foundation Trust closed its hospital kitchen doors for the last time in September. Despite the campaign’s best efforts, working with local activists, the Trust moved its community hospitals to a trucked-in cook-chill food system. We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone that backed the Oxfordshire campaign against the closures. We are now dusting ourselves off and reconnecting with the local campaign to plan our next steps to improve the quality of hospital food in the area.

Meanwhile, in Liverpool The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust are building a new hospital and are nearing the end of a tendering process to award the catering contracts. The Liverpool campaign have fought valiantly to persuade the Trust to commit to contracting a caterer that will build on off-site kitchen or ‘food hub’ to provide fresh, healthy and sustainable food for hospitals and meals-on-wheels services in the area. A food and drink strategy was put in place to influence the Trust’s choice of caterer, and the campaign is now awaiting news on whether efforts have been successful. The winner of the catering contract will be announced in November. There is now plenty of work to do to try to improve the food offer for the Trust’s hospital staff and visitors, who face a barrage of unhealthy vending machines and on-site food retailers.

We have also heard news that the government’s hospital review panel has been disbanded, on which Sustain and the Soil Association served for several arduous months. This may indicate that the Department of Health and Defra believe there is no more work to be done. We don’t agree, and look forward to a new and influential phase of the Campaign for Better Hospital Food.

We also welcome Katherine Button, who will join us on 6 October and replaces Alex Jackson in the post of campaign officer for better hospital food.


Capital Growth 
Contact Eloise Dey, Julie Riehl, Maddie Guerlain or Sarah Williams,

  • Over 50 gardens took part in Edible Gardens Open Day on 19 September, with over 1,500 visitors
  • The School Marketplace on 9 July involved 10 schools, including 35 students and 15 staff, coming to City Hall to sell fresh vegetables and other goodies grown in their school gardens
  • Capital Growth hosted seven training sessions, from how to build a pond to growing salads in the city, and organised a visit to Tolhurst Organic Farm for a group of 13 urban growing trainees

This summer Capital Growth worked closely with London Food Link to make Urban Food Fortnight the biggest and best year yet, with over 165 events ranging from ‘An Evening of Herbs’ with Hackney Herbal to special menus at restaurants using produce from local growers. A highlight of the fortnight was Edible Gardens Open Day, which saw over 50 gardens welcome the public, with over 1,500 visitors. Incredible Edible Lambeth led a walking tour of growing spaces in Clapham; the Regent’s Park Allotment Garden served cob-oven pizzas to over 500 visitors; and many other gardens held workshops and potlucks.

On Thursday 9 July, 10 schools took part in our Summer Schools Marketplace organised at City Hall, organised in collaboration with Food Growing Schools: London, which is led by Garden Organic. Schools came from 9 different boroughs across London and sold school -grown and -made produce from their garden, showcasing a huge range of garden goodies from beetroot cakes and chutney, to soap, seed packets and fresh veg. The event was very popular, with most schools selling out before the end of the day. Three schools selling over £100 of produce on the day. Mayor Boris Johnson paid a visit to the Marketplace and spoke to each school, which was appreciated by pupils and teachers.

With the harvest season in full swing, our Harvest-ometer was at the centre of our promotional work with network members. We saw 71 people attend trainings and organised a trip to Tolhurst Organic Farm in Oxfordshire for urban growing trainees from Growing Communities, Organiclea, Sutton Community Farm and Keats Organic. Amongst all this, we’ve also been hard at work updating our website, newsletter and online members’ area.

Finally, at the end of the quarter we were thrilled to hear we’d been awarded a three-year grant from City Bridge Trust! The project will engage volunteers in wildlife-friendly food growing.


Urban Food Routes
Contact Sarah Williams,

  • Over 165 urban food events were held in this year’s Urban Food Fortnight, celebrating London’s local larder with edible gardens open day and pop up dinners
  • 22 small groups and new food enterprises applied for Urban Food Fortnight match fund grant scheme and 60 attended our Get Connected event in West London
  • London’s top food enterprises crowned at the Urban Food Awards held at Borough Market on the Southbank, London, on 24 September

The focus of this quarter has been preparing for and running the fourth Urban Food Fortnight in London, to celebrate the great connections in London as well as foster new trading relationships in London’s food scene. The fortnight itself was a great success, highlighting the fantastic amount of food being grown, produced and cooked in the Capital with events ranging from garden open days to special menus at top restaurants. Media coverage this year included in TimeOut and The Evening Standard as well as many online articles and a vibrant social media presence.

London Food Link worked closely with a range of producers, chefs and other food businesses across the capital in the run-up to Urban Food Fortnight, through running networking opportunities, including the Get Connected event at Imperial attended by 60 food businesses and groups and a match funding round to encourage those new to trading. This was supported by Capital Growth.

This quarter also saw nominations and judging for the second annual Urban Food Awards, supported by the Mayor of London and held this year at Borough Market, with The Evening Standard as the media sponsor. Congratulations to London Food Link supporters: Growing Communities; Jack Clarke and Theresa Douthwright of SoleShare; and Nat Mady of Hackney Herbal, joined on the winners’ podium at LFL supporter Borough Market by Clarkshaws Brewing Company; Green & Fortune Café; Wilde’s Cheese; Barnes & Webb; SNAPS + RYE; Dee Laverty; and Broadwaters Inclusive Learning Community.


Children’s Food Campaign
Contact Malcolm Clark,

  • Sugary drinks duty backed by Jamie Oliver and petition to Government received over 100,000 signatures within first 48 hours
  • Marks & Spencer commit to removing all confectionery, crisps, cakes and biscuits from their till points in their stores
  • Successful complaint to Advertising Standards Authority forces Heinz to stop marketing its sugary biscotti for babies as ‘healthy snacks’
  • Campaign launched to keep universal infant free school meals.

Junk Food Marketing campaign
Another success for our junk free checkouts campaign:  M&S joins Lidl, Aldi and Tesco in removing less healthy items from their checkouts and queuing areas. It has been four years since we first met with the Director of Plan A at M&S, but our pressure has finally paid off, and one of the most complained about ‘supermarket sugar traps’ is no more!

We caught Heinz red-handed trying to mislead parents into believing sugary biscotti are an appropriate and healthy food – and indeed snack – to give to babies. When we asked the Advertising Standards Authority to investigate, Heinz backed down and agreed to change its wording. However, it is unclear whether this includes the packaging itself and Heinz has announced no measures to reduce the sugar content in their biscotti. That may be a satisfactory resolution for the ASA, but not for us.

School food
In response to reports that the Department for Education is considering cutting the funding for universal infant free school meals in November’s Spending Review, we have joined forces with others in the sector to urge the Government to think again. We helped co-ordinate a letter to The Sunday Times, signed by over 40 leading organisations and experts, putting the health case for free school meal provision for all pupils in the first three years of infant school.

Sugary Drinks Duty (see also Children’s Health Fund)
To tie in with the TV screening of Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush documentary, we launched a joint petition on the parliamentary website calling for the Government to introduce a sugary drinks duty. The petition received an impressive 120,000 signatories in the first few days and elicited a quick (though predictably dismissive) response from Government, whilst the parliamentary petitions committee agreed to ask the Health Select Committee to investigate. We have been working to maximise media and political opportunities around this petition and also the other issues addressed in Jamie’s Sugar Manifesto.

In July, the Children’s Food Campaign was one of the first to draw attention to the delay in the publication of Public Health England’s evidence review into marketing and fiscal measures to reduce sugar consumption.


Children’s Health Fund
Contact Gloria Davies-Coates,

  • The Children’s Health Fund launched in September 2015 and has recruited 122 restaurants to date, including restaurant chains Jamie’s Italian, Leon, Abokado and Tortilla.
  • The Board has decided that applications for grants will be open at Christmas with funding allocated in March 2016.
  • The focus for the first open funding round (two a year envisaged) will be promotion of drinking quality tap water through publicly accessible water fountains.

We are now in discussions with other restaurants who want to join, including GBK and Rezidor Hotels. Wetherspoon’s have publicly stated that they don’t want to join. We are also targeting cities through our various networks, with Brighton businesses already being approached through Brighton & Hove Council, and offers from Newcastle and London boroughs.

With the Terms of Reference and Membership agreed by the Sustain Council, the first official Children’s Health Fund Board will take place on 5 October 2015, covering progress on restaurant sign-up, application forms, suggestions for thematic focuses for funding, and timescales for the plans for the Fund over the next six months. Applications for grants will be open at Christmas 2015 with funding allocated in March 2016. The focus for the first round of funding will be promotion of drinking tap water through publicly accessible water fountains.

The Children’s Health Fund team extend a special thank you to Sustain Trustees for their close attention to detail in establishing this project, to ensure that it serves public health policy whilst also protecting against future industry influence, and maintaining Sustain’s ethical policy on not accepting money from the food and farming industries.


Farming Policy
Contact Kath Dalmeny,

The new Farming Working Party has commented on Vicki Hird’s first draft of papers on a new narrative for food and farming; a two-year farming strategy for Sustain; and an outline funding application. On her return from maternity leave at the beginning of September, Kath has taken over responsibility for development of Sustain’s work on sustainable farming, and has started to have conversations with Vicki and several of Sustain’s members about how to pursue policy changes to help sustainable farming thrive. Opportunities to rally Sustain members and others to back good farming policy over the coming months include, among others:

  • Consultation on, and launch of, Defra’s 25-Year Food and Farming Plan
  • Re-establishment of the government’s Natural Capital Committee in 2016
  • The planned review of the Grocery Code Adjudicator’s role and powers, spring 2016
  • Events planned by members and other colleagues, including the Oxford Real Farming Conference; regional debates planned by the Kindling Trust; City University London’s planned City Food Symposium, which this year will focus on implications of the EU referendum

At the end of September, Kath attended a regional stakeholder event run by Defra, and reported back the to Sustain Farming Working Party. She submitted a response, following consultation with the working party and Sustain’s wider membership, the main points being that, alarmingly, Defra’s plan:

  • Is very narrowly focused on economic growth, productivity and exports
  • Will treat environmental considerations as a separate, not integrated policy process
  • Has little explicit provision to address the needs of smaller farmers, and does not reference forthcoming policy processes such as the 2016 Grocery Code Adjudicator review
  • Sets no ambitions or targets, promising only ‘indicators’ at some later date

Traidcraft and Feedback, the food waste charity led by Tristram Stuart and for which Kath is a trustee, have started to convene a collaboration of NGOs to feed in to the Grocery Code Adjudicator review in spring 2016, most likely focusing on stopping on-farm food waste caused by supermarkets changing orders or rejecting crops on dubious cosmetic grounds – at home and abroad; fair prices for farmers – a “fair share of the pie”; and contractual terms – farmers being in a very poor position to negotiate. The feeling is that if we can all come behind some very specific and focused “asks” we’re more likely to be able to have an influence through this important process. Kath will attend these meetings and report back to Sustain’s Farming Working Party.


Growing Health 
Contact Maria Devereux or Sarah Williams,

  • Conference 'posters' presented to health professionals at Public Health England Conference and Royal College of GPs Conference
  • First meeting of Growing Health Champions held at Bromley-by-Bow healthy living centre

During this quarter, Growing Health has been targeting healthcare professionals and commissioners through successfully applying and presenting academic posters about using community food growing to deliver shared outcomes. Conferences attended were the Public Health England Conference, 15-16 September in Warwick, and the Royal College of GPs conference, 1-2 October in Glasgow.

We have also created two further case studies of commissioned community food growing projects and two new factsheets, one on food growing to reduce stress and stress related illness and a second relating to the benefits of prescribing food growing to address alcohol and substance misuse. These are added to the information available via our online toolkit.

We have recruited a group of 36 Growing Health Champions, to promote community food growing for health and wellbeing across the UK working though their networks. On 22 September, 12 Growing Health Champions attended a networking event held at the Bromley-by-Bow Centre, Tower Hamlets, East London. This was an opportunity for the Champions to network, and to learn about and discuss the model of social prescribing that is used successfully at the Centre.


London Food Link 
Contact: Sofia Parente unless otherwise stated, Twitter @londonfoodlink

Cage Free Capital campaign, contact Sofia Parente,
Public campaigning started in July. A call for action saw hundreds of London Food link supporters emailing the British Museum and the Natural History Museum calling for cage-free eggs to be used across all their catering to visitors. Within 5 hours of launching the campaign, the Natural History Museum signed the cage-free pledge for their on-site catering. Commercial caterer Benugo, responsible for on-site and event catering in these two and many other London attractions, went on to sign the pledge for all their catering and restaurants.

In September, the campaign turned to other attractions and caterers not yet taking action. Sustain visited attractions in Greenwich with a life-sized chicken costume (donned by stalwart volunteer Luke Briggs!) and as a result the two cafés and the restaurant at the National Maritime Museum (managed by commercial caterer Elior UK) are now serving cage-free eggs. The vast majority of London attractions targeted through this campaign have now signed the cage-free pledge. In addition, a total of 13 caterers signed the cage-free pledge for all their catering and restaurants. The campaign is also putting pressure on other caterers (e.g. Levy Restaurants UK, Ampersand/CH&Co) to revise their internal policy on animal welfare. We are grateful to Compassion in World Farming for funding this effective and targeted work.

Food waste, contact Sarah Williams and Kath Dalmeny,
The FoodSave project came to an end in the summer. In a short project that ran from just 2014-15, we helped around 80 food businesses prevent over 1,000 tonnes of food being wasted and more than 50 community organisations make use of surplus to create meals. The gargantuan and very detailed final reporting was managed ably by project officers Charlotte Jarman and Zoë Chambers. We extend our thanks to them for their diligence through such an arduous process, particularly as Charlotte was also about to give birth (to baby Chloë) and Zoë was preparing to get married (to her fiancé Charles). We note that Zoe and Charles used their wedding as a campaign opportunity, serving their guests (including several colleagues from Sustain) a delicious feast from food that would otherwise have gone to waste, beautifully prepared and served by the food surplus charity FoodCycle (for which Zoë has been a long-time volunteer). They even achieved coverage for this remarkable fact in The Daily Mail:

Sustain’s management team are now consulting severally with Sustain members and others on where best we can put our unique alliance efforts to help reduce food waste, given that this is now very crowded territory. Initial likely areas for Sustain’s attention include policy measures such as:

  • Adoption of the Food Waste Hierarchy by policy-makers – public and private – and funders (UK and European Union)
  • The Pig Idea – over-turning the EU ban on catering waste going for animal feed
  • Supermarket waste policy – cosmetic standards, farm dumping, diversion to charities, company targets and transparent reporting, etc. Looking at which aspects of this could come under the Grocery Code Adjudicator (see Farming Policy report)
  • Local authority waste policy – using our links with the Sustainable Food Cities network, and working with Feedback, to create a model for a ‘Zero Food Waste City’
  • Supporting calls for specific policy measures that could make a significant difference, such as increasing the landfill gate price.

Good Food for London 2015 report, contact Sofia Parente,
The Good Food for London 2015 report is in the final stages of editing and the results show another year of progress for the vast majority of measures and boroughs.

An evaluation survey for boroughs showed 49% of responses consider the Good Food for London report an effective tool to encourage change in food-related practice in the Borough. A further 36% consider the report an effective tool to encourage change in Borough policy. For example, as a direct result of the report, half of all respondents are signing their borough up to animal welfare, sustainable fish and local food partnerships. A further 45% of all respondents are signing up to one or more of the Healthier Catering Commitment, Food Growing Schools scheme, Capital Growth and Fish & Kids. Often the report provides an incentive for Council services and departments to get together to discuss and implement changes as illustrated by this comment from one borough: “As a result of the collaboration with all schools and internal departments on collating the Good Egg Award data, we have now formed an informal working group on other aspects of sustainable/ethical food and farming such as meat/dairy welfare standards and fair trade, so we now have a platform to discuss and progress on these issues.”

The results will be presented at the next meeting of the Borough Implementation Group along with practical changes to improve communication with boroughs and the process of collecting information for future reports. The report will be launched on 18 December at an event in City Hall. The event will celebrate progress and Sustain partners will have the opportunity to display information about their measures and network with Council officials.

The Jellied Eel, contact Chris Young,
Features in the August to October 2015 issue of Jellied Eel magazine included:

  • Japanese food with a conscience
  • London eateries serving sustainable herring
  • Urban Food Fortnight highlights
  • Tom Hunt on wild mushrooms
  • Community food growing initiatives getting enterprising
  • Tipples from foraged fruits

Tying in with Urban Food Fortnight, to attract new London Food Link supporters and Jellied Eel readers, we secured time-limited special offers from Arcelormittal Orbit, Hen Corner, Moma Foods, The Table Café and Kappacasein. Hawksmoor, Wahaca, The Table Café and Kappacasein also kindly supplied hundreds of pounds worth of prizes for a draw.

London Food Poverty programme, contact Hannah Laurison,

  • We have found that 1 in 3 London Boroughs have cut their meals on wheels
  • 220,000 London pupils from families living below the poverty line are not enrolled in Free School Meals – most of whom are not eligible
  • 64% of London boroughs do not guarantee employees a London Living Wage

The London Food Poverty Campaign will release the first annual London food poverty profile, an overview of the actions London’s local authorities are taking to reduce food poverty, at City Hall on 21 October. The report demonstrates how poor Londoners face a postcode lottery in coping with food poverty. The report highlights best practice from London boroughs and shows how much more there is to be done to ensure that the most vulnerable have an adequate safety net.

Urban Food Awards, contact Chris Young,

See Urban Food Routes report, above.


Real Bread Campaign
Contact: Chris Young,

  • Hundreds of Real Breadheads gather in London
  • Sourdough September goes global
  • Therapeutic and social baking research resumes
  • Over the past quarter, more than 280 people began or renewed support for our work, while our following on Twitter passed 24,100.

On 12 September, around 200 Campaign supporters and friends gathered for Real Bread: The Uprising. Organised by the Real Bread Campaign and SOAS Food Studies Centre, the event saw participants sharing ideas and information on topics including Real Bread social (and other small) enterprises, the therapeutic benefits of bread making, sourdough baking, and heritage grains.

The feedback collected after the event was overwhelmingly very positive, with all respondents scoring the event as very good or excellent, for example. The responses to the day’s wider questionnaire will now help to inform the future direction of the Campaign’s work.

This year’s month-long celebration of genuine sourdough in Sourdough September welcomed bakers participating from as far afield as the USA and South Australia. During the month, we also challenged a number of manufacturers marketing packet mixes as sourdough, despite containing baker’s yeast and a range of artificial additives.

Rather than waiting any longer to secure the funding we’re sure is out there, in July we decided to start a project based on the findings of our 2013 Rising Up report. We’re currently in the research phase and have enlisted volunteers to contact people running bread making enterprises and initiatives designed to help people living with mental health issues, or facing a range of other challenges. The aim is to gather examples of good practice and success, based on which we will create guidance materials and training to enable more of this good work to be done.


Sustainable Food Cities
Contact Hannah Laurison unless otherwise stated, Twitter: @Foodcities

  • The Sustainable Food Cities network has grown from 4 to, 44 with the London Boroughs of Croydon, Hackney, Merton and Sutton joining

The dedicated Sustainable Food Cities (SFC) Coordinators in Belfast, Bournemouth & Poole, Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle and Stockport, who have now been in post for 18 months, have established strong local food partnerships with high level buy-in and delivered a wide range of initiatives across the six thematic areas. Nearly half of the SFC members have allocated some money and/or staff time to developing their programmes alongside considerable voluntary input, mostly one or two days per week of existing staff time but in some instances through the creation of new full-time posts.

We’ve seen a ‘viral’ spread of interest in the SFC approach at a city, region and devolved nation level. Edinburgh’s pioneering work in Scotland has inspired Glasgow to join the SFC Network and other Scottish cities are now exploring the approach; Cork has followed Belfast’s example; and in Wales, Cardiff’s programme has led to interest from Swansea, Bridgend, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan. In Lancashire, the development of a county food charter and support programme has led a number of towns to follow Lancaster’s lead; and the public health team for the East Midlands are now promoting SFC across their region. At a city level, the work of Feeding Stockport has led to interest from other Manchester boroughs and in London, ten boroughs are in the early stages of establishing local food partnerships.


Planning Food Cities
Contact Gillian Morgan,

  • Our project partners in Plymouth and Blackburn now have supportive policies for community food growing in their new draft planning documents
  • Twenty-four community groups on a government initiative to compile local action plans have participated in our workshops on planning for community food growing spaces

Our Planning Food Cities project newsletter contains updates and top tips from our participating cities. To receive a copy send a (blank) email to:

Download our guide, Planning Sustainable Cities for Community Food Growing at:


Sustainable Fish Cities
Contact Ruth Westcott,

  • As part of the Good Food for London 2015 report process, the following London Boroughs and caterers took the Fish Cities pledge for all or part of their catering service; Edward and Ward, Barking & Dagenham, Brent, Lewisham (through their caterer Chartwells), Enfield and Ealing
  • Pledges were also received, through our growing Fish Cities network, from Liverpool Hope University, large sandwich supplier Tiffin, and five Cambridge Colleges, so nearly half of all Cambridge students, staff and academics will be served sustainable fish in college dining halls
  • A fourth star was awarded to the Sustainable Fish Cities campaign in Durham

This quarter, for the first time, all 14 co-ordinators in the Sustainable Fish Cities network (part of the Sustainable Food Cities programme) were surveyed to evaluate effectiveness of campaign, and seek suggestions for improvement. Stockport’s Fish Cities campaign is now off the mark, with a pledge from Solutions SK, responsible for the bulk of school and civic centre catering in the town.

After our gargantuan success earlier in the year persuading leading wholesale catering supplier Brakes to adopt a verifiably sustainable fish policy, we have started conversations with 3663 about becoming the second very large national supplier to sign the Fish Cities pledge.


Alliance projects

Square Meal

The Square Meal group met in July, shortly after the first of Defra’s stakeholder meetings around government’s proposed 25 Year Plan for Food and Farming. It has followed up with a response to the team working on the 25 Year Plan to outline the group’s concern over the narrow focus on growth and exports with little recognition of sustainability. The group is calling for a better link with the separate environment and nature strategy that Defra is set to develop during 2016. The group also submitted a response to the Environment Audit Committee Inquiry into the Government’s approach to sustainable development, and now awaits news on plans from the Committee. The group has also developed a briefing to go to MPs newly elected in spring to outline the messages and purpose of Square Meal. The Square Meal group sent a letter to Jane Ellison, minister for Public Health, and received a fairly standard response that “The Minister notes your concerns and call for a more joined-up approach to policy about public health, food and the farming industry.”


Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, contact Emma Rose

  • 17 Parliamentary Questions (PQs) were tabled on farm-antibiotic use (drafted by the Alliance). Defra has, in response, clarified its position on routine prophylaxis – helpfully stating that such practices are not supported by Government
  • Following the Alliance’s recommendations, the high-street supermarket Waitrose has amended its online antibiotics policy - which is now in line with the Alliance’s position
  • Following written correspondence with Presidents of the Royal Colleges (on behalf of Zac Goldsmith MP), we have two new well-respected organisations supporting the campaign: the College of Medicine and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

The Alliance is currently finalising scenarios for our next round of testing for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which will once again focus on UK retail meat. We plan to launch the results in partnership with a national paper in 2016, exposing supermarkets to some level of scrutiny and prompting concerted action from the retail market.

A positive meeting with the Shadow Defra team in early October has resulted in a plan to organise a public address from Shadow Defra Secretary of State Kerry McCarthy MP on farm antibiotic use. Over the next few weeks we will be pinning down the venue, details and date for this event.

Following a presentation by campaign coordinator Emma Rose at the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) outlining the issue of farm antibiotic use and the role of the foodservice industry, the SRA joined the Alliance as new members. Information on possible steps for industry, a fact sheet, and blog has been sent to SRA members. The SRA is currently considering on the inclusion of a question on antibiotics within their sustainability rating criteria.

Meetings with various representatives from the foodservice industry have, anecdotally, resulted in a number of reported internal discussions around the possibility of establishing a ‘responsible-use’ antibiotics policy within broader sustainability strategies.

A number of MEPs have, on behalf of the Alliance, tabled amendments to the EU Veterinary Medicines Legislation proposing bans to prophylactic and routine metaphylactic antibiotic use. We have been in contact with the Rapporteur with our recommendations to the compromise amendments. The Rapporteur has subsequently announced that she has "called for an end to the routine prophylactic use of antibiotics". In tandem, we have supported Avaaz’s second email to their networks on farm-antibiotic use. There are now +1.3m signatories to the accompanying petition.

We are also in discussions with the network of health professionals, Medact, regarding our 2016 conference, and have appointed a new member of staff to lead on the organisation of the event.


Eating Better Alliance, contact Sue Dibb:,

 With Alex Jackson leaving in July, Sustain took a reduced role in the management committee over the summer, and in September was able to confirm Sofia Parente to take over Sustain’s role on the management committee. Much of Sue’s time recently has been spent on getting Eating Better set up as a company limited by guarantee, with its own bank account, which would amongst other things allow Eating Better to receive grant funding directly, rather than through Sustain and WWF. Eating Better has requested Sustain puts forward a member of the Senior Management Team to become a trustee of Eating Better, but there is no urgency for making a decision on this. Sue has also been recruiting a Campaigns and Communications Associate.


Organic Sector Development, contact Catherine Fookes:

This campaign is coordinated by the Organic Trade Board, with Sustain helping to manage the finances.

  • Campaign advertisements appeared in the London area in support of Organic September
  • A PR push resulted in some great articles, including in The Times where Campaign Manager Catherine Fookes encouraged supermarkets to stock more organic products,3OVNH,2ACYE4,DB0R1,1
  • The campaign for a new bid to the EU promotion fund is well under way and the OTB has raised over £200k towards the £400k target from industry

Results from the September advertising analysis report include:

  • The campaign reached 39% of organic shoppers and the adverts were seen by a potential 18 million people (“Opportunities to See”)
  • There has been an increase in the belief that:
    • organic “tastes fantastic” which is currently79% (Up from 63% in May 2014)
    • organic is “worth it” 77% (up from 62% May 14)
    • 83% of those who recall seeing the advertising campaign intend to buy organic in the next fortnight.



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