Sustain project reports
July – September 2016

Ambassador Network
Contact Maria Deveraux, maria@sustainweb.org

  • 840 ambassadors recruited
  • Webinar series on using food to engage people

Whilst the networking events finished in July we are still recruiting ambassadors for The Crunch ambassadors network and communicating with them via monthly newsletters which covers community engagement ideas, resources and funding, events and activities they can use/get involved in, including Sustain’s projects and Sustainable Food Cities campaigns, see: https://thecrunch.wellcome.ac.uk/

We have organised two successful webinars with the Sustainable Food Cities Network about engaging different audiences using food and linking health and the environment. To listen to our webinars on 'Engaging Younger People' and 'Engaging Older People' visit www.sustainablefoodcities.org/webinars

 

Campaign for Better Hospital Food
Contact Katherine Button (after 6 October), www.sustainweb.org/hospitalfood/

  • Hospital Food Standards Panel re-convened, with Sustain’s involvement
  • Healthy Hospital Food league table compiled, highlighting high-street brands
  • Survey compiled to measure the quality of hospital food across London hospitals

This quarter has seen a focus on encouraging hospitals to comply with existing mandatory hospital food standards, including commercial brands and caterers that serve food on hospital premises.

We have compiled a Healthy Hospital Food league table to rank hospital food outlets and caterers on their compliance with NHS England mandatory CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) standards on food promotion. This includes measures relating to unhealthy food at the checkouts, price promotions and meal deals, in-hospital food advertising, and provision of data on sugary drinks sales. A league table format has once again proven an effective way to engage food companies in agreeing to improvements and publishing policies. Several retail and catering companies have already agreed to meet the standards following our pressure and we will be launching the league table shortly.

A survey designed to find the quality of hospital food across London hospitals has been finalised after successful pilots with three different acute London hospitals. Eight organisations including the Soil Association’s Food for Life Soil, the Hospital Caterers Association and UNISON have already signed up as supporters of the project. We will roll out the survey across London acute hospitals later in October, and champion this becoming a national measure of success in the future.

The Campaign for Better Hospital Food was invited by Age UK and the Department of Health to attend the first meeting of the newly re-convened Hospital Food Standards Panel. Through this process the campaign will be able to join working groups on developing the Government Buying Standards and ensuring food standards are maintained in hospitals post-Brexit. We were concerned to hear, however, that the Department of Health is about to experience a 30% cut in staff. Responsibility for hospital food is likely to move to NHS Improvement (https://improvement.nhs.uk), the sector regulator, making the work on national health and sustainability standards for hospital food ever more important. NHS Improvement’s remit is to ensure high-quality NHS care that is also financially sustainable. There is no mention of wider sustainability in its promotional materials.

NHS England and the Care Quality Commission continue to be important players. The campaign has this quarter responded to the NHS England's draft consultation on the 2017/18 CQUIN standards to encourage a focus on limiting the amount of foods high in fat, salt or sugar available across hospital vending machines and shop floors, as well as reduction in pack sizes.

 

Capital Growth 
Contact Eloise Dey, Julie Riehl, Maddie Guerlain or Sarah Williams, www.capitalgrowth.org

  • 13 gardens hosted our summer open day, Grow Well, Feel Well, welcoming over 450 people
  • 12 training sessions took place at five gardens around London, with 146 participants
  • New toolkit published for urban food growers, promoting wildlife-friendly practices
  • 700 visitors enjoy our Urban Harvest Feast, involving 15 community food-growing gardens

This summer Capital Growth hosted a new themed open day on 9 July called ‘Grow Well, Feel Well’, linking food growing to well-being. Thirteen gardens took part in the day, offering family foraging walks, herbal workshops, yoga in a glasshouse, outdoor art and mindfulness sessions for 466 people. The theme of health and well-being in the garden was very well-received. However, feedback from the gardens showed that peak summer time is a very busy time for gardens to host an open day.

On 14 July we held our summer School Marketplace at London’s City Hall, with five schools taking part, including 20 pupils and 8 school staff. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visited and stopped to speak with each school to ask about their experiences growing, harvesting and preparing for the marketplace.

Thanks to a small grant from the British Ecological Society, as a part of our London Grows initiative, we have published a new toolkit to help urban food growers attract more wildlife into the city’s gardens, called ‘London Grows Wild’. This will be used by London Grows buddies to help assess how wildlife-friendly community and school gardens are, and offer them tips and guidance on how to improve their space. Over the summer, 13 buddies were trained to support gardens and offer guidance on wildlife-friendly food growing, who have so far visited 11 gardens.

This autumn, the Urban Harvest Feast took place on Saturday 19 September, with 15 gardens across the capital welcoming over 700 visitors to join in the festivities. Gardens offered a variety of ways to get stuck in during the day, from food-preserving workshops in Catford, to garden fresh pizza from the cob oven at the Regent's Park allotment, to a traditional vegetable show held in Stratford, East London.

In mid-September, Capital Growth organised a visit for 12 urban farm trainees to The Apricot Centre in Essex, a four-acre permaculture orchard run by Marina O'Connell. The day afforded the trainees an opportunity to learn more about the ins-and-outs of running a small-scale growing enterprise that sells to London's box schemes and farmers’ markets.

Training this summer was very successful: 146 people took part in 12 training sessions. Over 90% of all participants said that the training improved their knowledge and confidence, and was useful for their project. As one person said, “The training was a reminder of what I need to do and what I want to do.”

 

Children’s Food Campaign
Contact Malcolm Clark, www.sustainweb.org/childrensfoodcampaign/

  • Brand and licensed character loopholes highlighted in rules for food marketing to children
  • Global coverage for our criticism of the Rio Olympics as a ‘carnival of junk food marketing’
  • Strong response to government Childhood Obesity Plan: marketing and promotions went missing
  • We counter industry fightback against Soft Drinks Industry Levy

This has been a summer like no other, with Children's Food Campaign repeatedly at the forefront of advocacy and major stories on efforts to tackle obesity, and particularly sugar reduction.

In July, the Campaign’s focus was on the Committee of Advertising Practice and their consultation on non-broadcast marketing of food and drink to children. We finalised our submission and helped many other organisations submit their own versions. A supporter action encouraged over 700 people to input their views to CAP. In addition, we took to dressing up as famous child-friendly brand and licensed characters (Nesquik bunny, an M&M, Peppa Pig, Olaf the snowman, a Stormtrooper et al) for a publicity stunt outside CAP's offices, to highlight humorously the loopholes that CAP is refusing to close.

At the beginning of August, our focus was the Rio Olympics. Following up our ground-breaking 2012 Obesity Games report on junk food sponsorship, we investigated the issue again for the Rio Olympics 2016. As well as exposing the promotional tactics of Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and others, and declaring the Games a ‘carnival of junk food marketing’, we took a more international approach. We helped galvanise public health experts from across 5 continents to strongly criticise comments made by the head of the UK’s Food & Drink Federation that non-western countries have ‘no problem’ with Coca Cola and McDonald's sponsorship of the Olympics. Our international public health colleagues disagreed vocally. This action received global attention.

To feed into final discussions at Number 10 on the Government's expected Childhood Obesity Strategy, we issued an eleventh-hour appeal for them not to repeat the Responsibility Deal's failed strategy for weak voluntary approaches to tackling junk food marketing and promotion. Our ‘Who sets the agenda?’ briefing analysed internal Responsibility Deal papers and minutes to identify the key lessons that should be learnt by civil servants and ministers.

The Government surprised even its own officials and advisors in mid-August, by launching the long-awaited Childhood Obesity Plan (downgraded from a ‘Strategy’). The Children's Food Campaign was highly sought-after by the media to comment on the Plan. We helped shape the consensus from experts, practitioners and parents that the Plan did not show the leadership that was needed and was missing vital components on controlling marketing and promotions, as well as covering no new ground on schools. Conversely, we were able to celebrate the renewed commitment by Theresa May's Government to the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, and some progress on the reformulation agenda, to be implemented by Public Health England. Together with other members of the Obesity Health Alliance, we have been looking at ways to open up the conversation again on marketing and promotions, as well as show the continued public support for a sugary drinks tax, ring-fenced for children’s health promotion.

The Treasury launched a technical consultation in August on the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. Since then we have been working with the Obesity Health Alliance policy group to develop and coordinate responses, and have met with Treasury officials to put our main points across.

The food and soft drinks industry has launched a large-scale, big-money fight back against the proposed Soft Drinks Industry Levy. Combatting the Big Soda propaganda machine has been the focus of Children's Food Campaign's work in September, and we fully expect this will continue, as we look to learn from the experience of tobacco and alcohol control, and fellow soda tax campaigners in the US and elsewhere. To challenge the British Soft Drinks Association's sponsorship of a fringe event on obesity at the Labour Party Conference, we joined with local ‘Give Up Loving Pop’ campaigners in Liverpool to hand out free toothbrushes to delegates and talk about our campaign. This action was well-received, gaining regional media coverage in the North-West. Together with the British Dental Association, we participated in – and convincingly won – a debate about the sugary drinks tax at London South Bank University.

Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign has been shortlisted for the Charity Times Campaigning Team of the Year 2016 category for its work on a sugary drinks tax.

 

Children’s Health Fund
Contact Gloria Davies-Coates or Charlotte Jarman, www.childrenshealthfund.org.uk

  • The Children's Health Fund is a year old
  • Projects funded by the drinking water funding round have begun installing water fountains
  • The ‘Holiday Food’ funding round attracted 96 applications

Organisations that received a grant from the Children's Health Fund’s first funding round have begun installing their water fountains with great success. The CEO of the North Smethwick Development Trust reported that, “Our water consumption has increased massively since the installation, during the summer holiday club for children ages 5-13 years, children were drinking at least 1 pint of water every day and stopped bringing in their fizzy drinks.”

The second round of funding has just closed, attracting 96 applications from all regions of the UK. This will focus on supporting projects that provide nutritious meals for children from low-income households during holiday periods. The assessment panel will be meeting early November to judge shortlisted applications, and grants will be offered shortly afterward.

 

Farming Policy
Contact Kath Dalmeny, www.sustainweb.org/foodandfarmingpolicy/

We are delighted to report that Vicki Hird will rejoin Sustain in December to run the new Sustainable Farming campaign ‘A million better jobs for better farming and land use’ (working title). Priorities will be:

  • Public money for public goods – winning the case for subsidies to favour sustainable farming.
  • Better farm trading conditions – winning an extension of the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to protect farmers from unfair trading practices by major retailers. The long-awaited public consultation will be launched on 18 October, with a three-month consultation period.
  • Better farm working conditions – winning re-establishment of the Agricultural Wages Board or similar, to ensure that farm labourers enjoy better pay and conditions.
  • Better prospects for new-entrant farmers – better training and access to land and finance.

Of course, these priorities were agreed prior to the EU Referendum and the seismic shifts that the UK’s decision to leave the EU is likely to mean for food, fishing and farming policy. We are fortunate that some of these key priorities are highly relevant to the Brexit agenda, so Vicki will be able to contribute from her enormous wealth of expertise to this important work, mainly under the ‘Public money for public goods’ theme. We are also busy fundraising to improve our capacity to respond.

Since June’s Brexit vote, we have convened a very large number of organisations to co-sign an advocacy letter to David Davis MP, head of the government’s new Brexit Department. We reported on this to the previous Sustain Council meeting, and a copy of the letter is available on the Sustain website. We have not yet received a reply. Since then, Kath and Ben have been very busy instigating ideas with Sustain’s members, as well as participating in initiatives organised by others. Some highlights include:

  • Discussions with Sir Don Curry, Soil Association, Sustain, RSPB, Green Alliance and others about the possibility of a ‘Curry Commission’ style consultation process, backed by government, to help develop a vision for health and sustainable food, fishing and farming outside the EU.
  • Liaison with the Green Alliance, which is hosting several environmental groupings around marine, farming and legal issues in response to Brexit, to ensure that our work is mutually supportive.
  • Participation in a ‘de-regulation and trade’ project coordinated by the New Economics Foundation, which includes food but also involves concerns about the de-regulation of important standards and protections on a very wide range of issues, from environment to workers’ rights to financial markets.
  • Keeping track of numerous publications and opinion-pieces by key players in the food movement, and in the political sphere, to inform our emerging approach to post-EU farming and fishing policy.
  • Convening Sustainable Fish Cities working party members, with other fishery groups, to discuss what we should be jointly demanding to secure world-beating post-EU sustainable fishery policies.
  • Starting discussions with lawyers, and legal representatives in a wide range of member organisations and other alliances, about saving standards from the Brexit Bonfire, and in particular the need to ensure that the Great Repeal Bill does not create new loopholes for standards to be removed.
  • Briefing several funders, researchers, media contacts and others on key developments.
  • Planning for a Sustain alliance Brexit Forum in November, to bring together members to discuss priorities and the best way forward.
  • Planning for a Sustain-hosted session at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in January, chaired by Vicki Hird, to discuss implications of Brexit for the future of food, fishing and farming.

It looks likely that Defra will launch some form of public consultation in 2017, perhaps in relation to their 25-year food and farming strategy and environment strategy, or perhaps more directly in relation to Brexit. This could provide an opportunity to coordinate Sustain alliance responses and agree common framing and messages, particularly on post-CAP farm subsidies and ‘Public money for public good’.

 

Growing Health 
Contact Maria Devereux or Sarah Williams, www.sustainweb.org/growinghealth/

  • Growing Health Toolkit launched online
  • ‘Which Tool to Use?’ workshop held in Manchester for 36 participants
  • Project evaluation shows demonstrable benefit for groups involved in the network

The Growing Health project continued to support groups looking to become commission-ready by launching the online toolkit and new-look website, with factsheets, case studies and other guides all in one easy-to-download document.

The work on the ‘Which Tool to Use?’ guide was also promoted at a workshop in Manchester on 20 July, focusing on how to select and use the appropriate tool for monitoring and evaluating food growing projects. Good proof of efficacy is needed to convince the health service to commission their services.

An evaluation of the project itself was undertaken through a survey to our 480 network members, of which 270 had attended a Growing Health event over the last two years. This was completed by 57 respondents, who fed back on the usefulness of the materials developed, with the factsheets and report seen as very or extremely useful. The impact of Growing Health was also reviewed through the survey, with many groups being able to comment on the practical impacts on their work such as developing new projects, reaching health commissioners and in some case getting commissioned.

The Growing Health project reached the end of its funded phase during August, and Sustain and Garden Organic are currently looking for funding to continue the project.

 

London Food Link 
Contacts: Chris Young or Sofia Parente, londonfoodlink@sustainweb.org, www.londonfoodlink.org Twitter @londonfoodlink

Urban Food Fortnight

  • Small food businesses and entrepreneurs ‘Get Connected’ for Urban Food Fortnight
  • Urban Food Fortnight curates the best of London’s good food scene with 87 events
  • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan helps London Food Link celebrate the best of urban food

On 18 July, The Culpeper hosted our summer networking event, helping small-scale growers, producers, retailers and cooks build relationships and make plans for Urban Food Fortnight. More than 40 attendees heard from and chatted with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Cultivate London and Plan Zheroes. This was in preparation for our fifth annual Urban Food Fortnight, which celebrates the food being grown, made, cooked and – for the first time – saved across the capital, involving thousands of people in 87 events. Urban Food Fortnight also played host to London Food Link’s flagship 5x15 event, with inspiring speakers including: food writer Bee Wilson; co-founder of Leon Restaurants Henry Dimbleby; coordinator of Sustain Kath Dalmeny; insect enthusiast Bridget Nicholls; and chaired by the Mayor’s food advisor Rosie Boycott. The event included an auction and raffle raising over £1,500 for London Food Link.

During the quarter, 58 people either joined London Food Link or renewed their support and our followers on Twitter passed 9,800 (@londonfoodlink) and 5,650 (@jelliedeelmag).

 

Urban Food Awards, contact Chris Young, www.sustainweb.org/londonfoodlink/awards/

The fortnight also included this year's Urban Food Awards. Run by City Hall, London Food Link and Borough Market, the annual Urban Food Awards celebrate London’s fantastic food scene. In addition to great taste, they throw the spotlight on the good food practices and the people behind the products. After five months of encouraging London to seek out and celebrate small local food producers and heroes, the Awards came to a climax on 21 September, when winners were announced at a lively event at Borough Market. The event was opened by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, presenting a new award recognising good use of surplus food. The winners were:

  • Heavenly Honey Award: Bermondsey Street Honey (Bermondsey Street Bees)
  • London Leaves Award: Supergreen Frilly Mixed Salad (GrowUp Urban Farms)
  • Londoners’ Loaf Award, plain: The Brick House Miche (Brick House)
  • Londoners’ Loaf Award, special: Double Chocolate Sourdough (Brick House)
  • Proper Preserves Award: Fruit Cheese (Fruit Magpie)
  • Beautiful Brew Award: Queen of Diamonds IPA (Wild Card Brewery)
  • Best Retailer Award: The Food Assembly
  • Capital Growth's Growing Enterprise Award: Forty Hall Community Vineyard
  • Most Inspiring Producer Award: Bee Collective
  • Roots to Work Award: Growing Communities
  • Sustainable Street Food Award: Gourmet Goat

 

The Jellied Eel magazine, contact Chris Young, www.sustainweb.org/jelliedeel/

This quarter saw publication of issue 52 of The Jellied Eel magazine, which highlighted Urban Food Fortnight's ‘grow, make, cook, forage and save’ themes to extend the celebrations and promotion to the end of the year. Features in issue 52 include:

  • Tom Hunt's Urban Food Fortnight
  • Peri-urban farming
  • Food incubators
  • Good Food Jobs - urban beekeeper
  • Profiles of the Urban Food Awards finalists

Jellied Eel also continues its mission to highlight Sustain’s work to more than 40,000 readers, including:

  • Growing Health focus on horticultural therapy
  • Taking action to save our antibiotics for human use, from over-use in intensive farming
  • Children's Health Fund – the successes so far
  • Helping food entrepreneurs find Roots To Work

 

Good Food for London 2015 and 2016 reports, contact Sofia Parente

‘Good Food for London’ tracks progress on the uptake of good food schemes by London Boroughs, presenting the information in the form of maps and a borough league table. The format has been successful in increasing the uptake of important schemes such as Food for Life catering standards, Sustainable Fish City, Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards, breastfeeding promotion and the Living Wage. This is our sixth year of running the report, with 27 out of 33 London local authorities providing information about good food initiatives in their borough, and further information provided by the groups that run the schemes we measure progress by. The Good Food for London report is currently being finalised and, once again, it illustrates good progress, with 30 out of 33 local authorities improving their scores. Full results will be released shortly, with the launch to be hosted at City Hall on 15 November.

 

Local Authority Declaration on Healthier Weight & Sugar Reduction, contact Sofia Parente

This is a new project commissioned by local authorities in East London and delivered by Sustain. The aim is to get at least eight local authorities to sign up to take local action by the end of March 2018. Sustain produced a draft outlining key areas, with options for action for the local authority to select, to:

  • Tackle advertising and sponsorship
  • Improve the food provided in settings controlled by the Council
  • Support businesses to improve their food offer
  • Run healthier public events
  • Reduce prominence of sugary drinks and actively promote free drinking water
  • Raise public awareness, e.g. campaigns, local champions, healthy eating programmes, training

The draft has so far been well received and we are continuing to get feedback until mid-October. Several local authorities already indicated they are interested in signing up, and there may be opportunities to promote this nationally via Sustainable Food Cities. The Declaration will be a measure in the Good Food for London report from 2017 onwards and this will provide an extra incentive for local authorities to sign.

 

London Food Poverty programme, contact Simon Shaw, www.sustainweb.org/foodpoverty/london/

We are currently finalising the second edition of the ‘Beyond the Food Bank’ report, which assesses London borough leadership on addressing some of the major drivers of food poverty. Part of our aim is to re-frame responses to food poverty, away from an automatic resort to food banks, and towards structural and long-term solutions. The report focuses on iconic initiatives that help people in need to eat well, including Healthy Start vouchers, breastfeeding promotion, the London Living Wage, free school meals, school breakfast clubs and holiday meal provision, and meals on wheels.

For the first time, the ‘Beyond the Food Bank’ report will include a league table of borough performance, which champions leaders and demonstrates the differences in approach between different boroughs. We hope that this will help to incentivise improvements over time, to help people living in disadvantage. It will be launched on 15 November at City Hall, in parallel with our ‘Good Food for London’ report.

One of the most concerning findings in our Beyond the Food Bank research is the rapid decline in meals on wheels provision for vulnerable older and disabled people. Simon is preparing four case studies of good practice in meals on wheels provision, to be published in national Meals on Wheels Week, and will also promote these to local authorities nationwide through the Sustainable Food Cities network.

A food poverty action plan factsheet which will accompany the release of Greater London Authority funding for developing food poverty action plans. The factsheet is also relevant to UK-wide initiatives.

 

Letter to the Mayor of London

Since the election of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan earlier in the year, we have been concerned to ensure that food policy remains firmly on the new Mayor’s agenda, and on the agenda for the Greater London Authority. During August, Kath coordinated a letter with 30 signatories, including top chefs Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Raymond Blanc and Iqbal Wahhab, as well as several members of the London Food Board and other leading food policy proponents, representing a wide range of issues. This reminded the new Mayor of all the great achievements on food policy in London over the past decade; of London’s international leadership through being a signatory to the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, and of the critically important enterprise, social justice, health and environmental issues still to be addressed. Since the letter, Sadiq Khan has participated in our Urban Food Awards ceremony, and also backed a new Evening Standard campaign to divert surplus food to people in need. So there are some promising signs of progress, although as yet no secure future or budget for the London Food Board.

 

Real Bread Campaign
Contact: Chris Young, www.sustainweb.org/realbread/

  • The Real Bread Campaign launches our first recipe book
  • Real Bread toasted during Sourdough September
  • Work continues to secure funding for work on bread-making and mental health

On 13 September, Nourish Books published Slow Dough: Real Bread – first in the USA, and then in the UK two days later. This, the Real Bread Campaign's first recipe book, contains around 90 recipes for genuine sourdough and other long-ferment Real Breads. They range from a basic white loaf, to Laotian kalpao and Friesian fryske sûkerbôle. Importantly, the book also celebrates the bakers behind the loaves, many of whom attended the launch party at E5 Bakehouse in East London. Within two weeks of publication, more than 200 copies had been bought from the Campaign's website alone, on top of which are sales through bookshops and online retailers: www.sustainweb.org/realbread/slow_dough_book/

The fourth annual Sourdough September again saw Real Bread bakeries, baking schools, mills, food festivals and other fermentalists around Britain and beyond running sourdough classes, tastings, feasts and more to help everyone experience and enjoy the power of sour. At the time or writing, we are just starting to receive feedback and figures from them, but so far know of around 90 events and activities that were held across the 30 days of sharing food, facts and fun.

While annual contributions from our supporters, publication sales and donations all help us to carry on our core campaign activities, we continue to submit bids for funding for our proposed projects. These are Together We Rise (therapeutic baking), No Loaf Lost (preventing bakery surplus, rather than just finding uses for waste), and Lessons in Loaf / Bake Your Lawn (wheat growing and baking for children).

Over the past three months, more than 300 people began or renewed support for our work, while our following on Twitter passed 26,000. For regular Real Bread Campaign updates, sign up to receive the monthly enewsletter Breadcrumbs: www.sustainweb.org/realbread/breadcrumbs

 

Student Food Enterprise
Contact Tilly Jarvis, www.foodcoops.org Twitter: @foodcoops

  • Sustain’s ever-popular Food Co-ops website re-branded and re-launched
  • Students can apply for up to £1,000 start-up costs and mentoring for new food enterprises

As part of the Our Brighter Future NUS Student Eats programme, Sustain will be supporting 67 new student food enterprises over the next five years.  As part of this we have reinstated Sustain’s earlier food co-ops network with a fresh new logo and website. This was first established as part of the Making Local Food Work programme, 2007 to 2012. We have refreshed the content with up-to date information, including the Food Co-op Toolkit, which has continued to be one of Sustain’s most popular downloads.

The project is also establishing partnerships with other relevant organisations, such as Food Assembly who will be including all UK Food assemblies on the Food Co-op Finder.

On 25 July Round 2 of the NUS Student Eats programme opened with students able to apply for up to £1,000 start-up costs and mentoring to set up new food enterprises (deadline 28 October).

 

Sustainable Food Cities
Contact Kath Dalmeny unless otherwise stated, www.sustainablefoodcities.org Twitter: @Foodcities

  • Funding secures new three-year phase for the Sustainable Food Cities network
  • The network grows to 47 towns and cities with food strategies, action plans and partnerships
  • New Network Manager and Campaigns Coordinator recruitment underway

The very exciting news is that the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has confirmed a grant of £1.5m for development of the Sustainable Food Cities (SFC) Network, over the next three years. This followed considerable efforts by the team, from Food Matters, Soil Association and Sustain, reviewing priorities, support for cities, campaigns, structures and staffing for taking this work to a new level. The grant and overall programme is managed by the Soil Association. Key developments from Phase 1 include:

  • Support for cities provided via a ‘life stage’ approach, to systematise what we learned in Phase 1;
  • Each national partner organisation taking clear responsibility for an area of work, as well as contributing to the national programme: for Sustain, our area is SFC campaigns;
  • Better engagement of national campaign groups and policy organisations;
  • Greater involvement of senior managers from each national partner organisation, replacing partner trustees on a revised Programme Management Board;
  • Recruitment of two new posts – SFC Network Manager, overseeing management of the cities and their life-stage support (managed by the Soil Association); and SFC Campaigns Coordinator, overseeing campaign development and implementation (managed by Sustain);
  • Small grants available to cities, on a competitive basis, to participate in SFC campaigns;
  • Prioritisation of work towards programme sustainability in the longer term, including greater ownership and involvement by pioneering sustainable food cities;
  • A refreshed memorandum of understanding and terms of reference to reflect such changes.

With the departure of our highly esteemed Sustainable Food Cities project officer Hannah Laurison, several team members at Sustain have been taking on aspects of the work in the final stages of Phase 1, before the start of the new Phase 2 programme in December 2016. Kath has participated in programme planning and recruitment, and Kath and Ben have been leading on policy and campaign development, including funding bids for Sustain partners to engage in enhanced campaign activity in the period 2017-19. Meanwhile, Sustain’s Simon Shaw has been continuing to develop food poverty work, to enable more cities to adopt food poverty action plans in the coming period. Highlights are reported below.

 

Food Poverty
Contact Simon Shaw, www.sustainweb.org/foodpoverty/

Simon led consultation events as part of Big Lottery funded work to develop a UK-wide food justice movement. The event took place in Margate, Greenwich, Brighton, Cardiff and Belfast. Simon also provided resources for further consultation events run around the UK by other project partners. Key recommendations for design of the UK-wide programme include the need to offer resources and peer-to-peer support in local areas and provide information for local areas on good practice models, cost-benefit analysis, monitoring and evaluation and involvement and engagement of people who have experienced food poverty. The amended programme design will be consulted on further in November.

Simon continues to work with the UK Food Poverty Alliance and the End Hunger UK campaign working group. He also continues to work with the Food Foundation and others to advocate for national level monitoring of food insecurity.

 

Sugar Smart
Contact Ben Reynolds, www.sugarsmartuk.org

This is planned to be the next Sustainable Food Cities campaign, due to launch in early 2017, and this quarter has seen the continued development of this concept, building on the previous year of work. Since Brighton launched its local Sugar Smart City campaign in late 2015, many other locations within the Sustainable Food Cities network and beyond have been interested in launching their own version of this approach, which provides a place-based approach to reduction of sugar across different settings. Sustain is working with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation to see how they could best provide national support to encourage this work, which has included webinars and meetings with Sustainable Food Cities members.

This last quarter has also seen the development of a Local Authority Declaration on healthy eating and sugar reduction (see London Food Link above), which could form a template for a Sugar Smart Declaration in other sectors, due to be adopted by areas including Lewisham & Greenwich (October), Exeter (early 2017), and other interested locations, including Durham, Birmingham and Bristol.

 

Planning Food Cities
Contact Gillian Morgan, www.sustainweb.org/planning

Our support to partners to engage in local plan-making continues with news of useful developments:

  • We gave advice to local food growers in Durham, Hull, Hammersmith and Redbridge on submitting a response to their local plan consultations.
  • Success was achieved by Food4Hull (a member of the Sustainable Food Cities network), with the latest draft of the local plan containing a new section on local food growing and a policy.

Our monthly ‘Planning Food Cities Project’ newsletter contained updates and top tips from our participating cities and the planning world. To receive a copy send a (blank) email to: sfc-foodandplanning-subscribe@lists.riseup.net or email Gillian Morgan: gillian@sustainweb.org.

 

Sustainable Fish Cities
Contact Ruth Westcott, www.fishcities.net

  • Sustainable fish pledges received from local and national caterers, and top sports venues
  • Welsh Government becomes first to secure sustainable fish buying for public sector
  • Sustain helps convene organisations to discuss implications of Brexit for sustainable fisheries

Sign-ups to the Sustainable Fish Cities pledge have continued to be secured. As a result of our ‘Premier League of Fish’ activities targeting top sports venues, promoted during the Rio 2016 Olympics, catering company Delaware North has signed up to Sustainable Fish Cities. Delaware North provide catering services to some of the UK’s most iconic sports venues, including Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Wembley Stadium and The Emirates Stadium. All will now serve only sustainable fish as standard.

The Welsh Government also became the first to secure sustainable fish buying across the public sector. Thousands of meals served every day in schools, hospitals, universities and colleges in Wales will now serve only verifiably sustainable fish, thanks to a pledge by the National Procurement Service (NPS) for Wales, contributing to the government’s sustainability commitments in the Future Generations Act.

The power of campaigning at both local and national levels continues to be evident. In Cambridge, local providers Wintercomfort catering and Co @ Number 15 have signed up, building on the local campaign’s earlier success of winning sustainable fish pledges from 20 Cambridge university colleges. And in London, as part of the ‘Good Food for London’ report, four pledges were received on behalf of catering services in London Boroughs. The most notable was from specialist education caterer Innovate Services, who – encouraged by Hammersmith & Fulham – signed up to serve sustainable fish across their whole business.

This quarter has seen Sustain react to the news of the UK’s forthcoming exit from the European Union. The EU oversees management of fish stocks that are the most valuable and at risk of exploitation. As such, our departure from the EU threatens the sustainable management of these stocks. So far Sustain has helped to co-ordinate a group of the UK's top marine organisations in developing a joint response. This runs alongside a parallel process hosted by the Green Alliance examining Brexit implications for the marine environment, and we are working to forge links to ensure our work is mutually supportive.

 

Alliance project reports

Square Meal
www.foodresearch.org.uk/square-meal/

Members of the Square Meal group have variously been involved in discussions and new project activities that, understandably, have been dominated by the outcome of the EU Referendum. These are now reported under the ‘Farming Policy’ section above.

 

Alliance to Save our Antibiotics
www.saveourantibiotics.org

The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is an alliance of health, medical, environmental and animal welfare groups working to stop the over-use of antibiotics in animal farming. It was founded by Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association, and Sustain in 2009, supported by the Jeremy Coller Foundation.

In September, we released results of our lab testing research. Across pig and chicken meat from seven major UK supermarkets, the study found E.coli bacteria resistant to three highly important antibiotics for treating dangerous E. coli infections in people. The findings were covered on the front page of The Daily Mail, in +120 further publications (print and online), and was widely picked up across Europe. Broadcast coverage included BBC You & Yours and Cambridge TV. The Alliance's infographic video was viewed 40,000+ times, and 8,000+ members of the public joined the call for supermarket action on antibiotics.

In response to our findings, the UK’s Food Standards Agency acknowledged that the problem was serious (a major breakthrough, as our work is sometimes dismissed as alarmist by official bodies) and committed to taking action on farm antibiotics. The study also prompted progress by industry. Waitrose updated their antibiotics policy, which now states that they prohibit prophylaxis (‘just-in-case’ use), are working towards year-on-year reductions, and will phase out use of the ‘critically important’ antibiotics.

In early October, the discovery of MRSA on UK supermarket pork (found on the same samples purchased for the earlier Alliance research) hit the headlines again, securing coverage in most UK national papers.

The Alliance is working with Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond, to raise the profile of these studies in Parliament, via an Early Day Motion. Corresponding public-facing activity will encourage members of the public to contact their local MP and request that they sign this parliamentary petition.

Separately, the Alliance has been supporting the development of an upcoming Science Museum exhibition on anti-microbial resistance. Follow-up meetings are planned in November 2016.

 

Eating Better Alliance
www.eating-better.org

  • Institute for European Environment Policy commissioned to examine how agriculture and trade policies help or hinder shifts towards less and better meat consumption
  • Support coordinated with 20 leading health, consumer and professional organisations, for the UK government's official healthy eating advice, the ‘Eatwell Guide’, incorporating sustainability
  • Participants welcomed from 27 alliance organisations to summer workshop

The Eating Better Alliance summer workshop was attended by a record number of organisations this year as the alliance continues to grow. It now has 50 members. The day was spent planning, reflecting, learning, sharing and developing solutions, and there is now a renewed focus and exciting new plans.

Through Sustain’s work on marketing, we put Eating Better in contact with The Drum magazine, who organise ‘Do It Day’. This is an initiative that brings together marketing experts to work on challenges and bring about creative solutions that stimulate change. The first part is ‘Plan It Day’ which took place in September. Several marketing experts were invited to come up with creative ideas to the problem of men eating too much meat and the winner will then develop the idea further in the ‘Do It Day’ in November. Ideas will help Eating Better to further develop campaigns work in this area.

 

Organic Sector Development
www.organicukfood.com

Sustain continues to help the Organic Trade Board with financial management, in the final stages of the current EU grant-funded programme to promote organic food. If a further phase of funding is agreed, responsibility for grant management will pass to the Organic Trade Board, which previously did not have the required track record to be able to take on this role, but now does. This phase of the campaign is now in its final quarter and is due to finish December 2016.

Organic: Naturally Different campaign

The campaign's theme this year ‘#OrganicUnboxed’ continues to be well received with a record number of brands and retailers, large and small, embracing the campaign. Yeo Valley & Flahavans completed their own #OrganicUnboxed films for Organic September and Tesco worked with blogger Petite Cook to send 7.5k boxes of organic ingredients with a recipe card out to occasional  organic shoppers.

Madeleine Shaw’s 4-minute ‘#OrganicUnboxed’ film has now been seen by over 1.5m people, i.e. a further 300k in the last quarter. And bloggers taking part in #OrganicUnboxed had a total reach of 758k. The 22 beautiful blogs include films, recipes, fantastic photography of products in action and explanations about the benefits of organic, including Fabulous Foodie, Bealleau Kitchen, and Rachel Phipps. The campaign has over a 90,000 social media following on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The campaign target for press articles this year was 288, a 10% increase on last year. Organic Trade Board have already achieved 259, even before inclusion of articles placed by PR agency Haygarth during Organic September. The ‘Opportunities to See’ total stands at 25 million. The campaign has helped many Organic Trade Board members get involved, from Tideford in Stylist to Riverford in the Health Food Guide and James White Drinks, Pukka and Clearspring in Femail First. A Madeleine Shaw recipe also featured in Closer agazine and Campaign Manager Catherine Fookes featured on Share Radio. The online podcasts are downloaded c.95,000 times a month and the radio show has 250,000 listeners per month.

EU funding bid

OTB is awaiting news on the outcome of an EU funding submission for a new phase of organic marketing.

 

Food Issues Census
www.foodissuescensus.org

Sustain is part of a steering group for this Food Ethics Council project, supported by many food funders, to update the findings of the Food Issues Census which they undertook in 2011. The original was felt by many voluntary and civil-society organisations to be of great use, presenting a picture of which issues receive more (or less) funding, and what the priorities of the food movement are. Sustain has helped Food Ethics Council with undertaking and promoting this new edition, to be launched early in 2017.

 

UK Food Group
www.ukfg.org.uk

Over this quarter, the UK Food Group (UKFG) has continued to engage, with its members, in a number of processes in defence of the more ecological, biodiverse and resilient food systems, dynamically managed by small-scale food providers, which feed most people in the world. Highlights include:

  • The UKFG has actively contributed to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), especially through its Civil Society Mechanism (CSM). A significant contribution of the coordinator was to the CSM document analysing the CFS recommendations about connecting smallholders to markets (www.csm4cfs.org/connecting-smallholders-markets-analytical-guide/). In addition, members of the UKFG have been organising side events for the CFS e.g. Sustainable Agricultural Development for Food Security and Nutrition: What Roles for Livestock? (Compassion in world Farming & The Brooke).
  • The UKFG coordinator has been a member of a steering group about sustainable development and policy coherence in CONCORD, the European development NGO network, with a role of promoting, in support of the world’s majority food providers, global food and nutrition issues in CONCORD’s advocacy for Agenda 2030 (www.concordeurope.net/hubs/hub1).
  • For the 2016 Nyéléni Europe forum for food sovereignty in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the UKFG coordinator and members of the management group have supported the preparatory process for the UK delegation, of more than 30 people selected from about 70 applicants, which will contribute to the development of a European action plan for realising food sovereignty (www.foodsovereignty.org.uk/uk-delegation-2nd-nyeleni-europe/).

The UKFG management group is deeply grateful to Jean Blaylock, whose contribution as UKFG coordinator for the past five years, to the network and its partners in Europe and internationally, has been exemplary. Among many achievements she also leaves us with a renewed website www.ukfg.org.uk, on which highlights of the network’s activities are presented. The management group wishes her every success in her new job at Global Justice Now.


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