Sustain project reports
October – December 2016

Campaign for Better Hospital Food
Contact Katherine Button,

  • London hospital food quality – survey complete
  • Healthy Hospital Food brand league table media coverage
  • New 2017-19 healthy eating CQUIN targets announced

This quarter has seen a continued focus on encouraging hospitals and hospital retailers to comply with existing mandatory hospital food standards, and on driving up voluntary standards.

The Campaign for Better Hospital Food is concerned that responsibility for hospital food standards will soon move from the Department of Health to NHS Improvement and will shortly be writing a letter with signatories from 15 other campaigns and organisations to ask Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, and 4Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health to preserve and develop our existing hospital food standards and work towards higher standards for health and sustainability.

We now have the survey results from our work to map the quality of hospital food across a geographical sample – London’s Acute hospitals. 30 out of 39 Acute London hospitals responded to our survey and we are now analysing the data they have provided, before publishing a report later in the spring. 21 organisations have already been recruited as co-signatories for the report.

The Healthy Hospital Food League Table, to rank hospital food retail and catering brands in order of their compliance with the NHS England mandatory CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and innovation) standards on food, was successfully released in October. Prior to its release the campaign achieved our aims of driving up CQUIN compliance amongst all but one of the 13 major NHS catering and retail contractors we approached. Only Burger King remained unresponsive. Six brands were persuaded to dramatically improve their compliance. Amongst these companies, M&S committed to meeting the targets on healthy check-outs and promotions, WHSmith committed to meet all the targets before the deadline, and catering company ISS committed to meeting the targets early across its own-brand range and compelling private franchisees also to meet the targets by the deadline. Coffee and snack shops Costa and Starbucks also committed to meet the CQUIN targets by the March 2017 deadline.

The Healthy Hospital Food League Table achieved good media coverage. We secured the 6am breakfast interview slot on BBC Radio 5 Live, and rolling news coverage thereafter on 5 Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News and ITV. The story was also covered by most major broadsheet and tabloid newspapers as well as industry press. The coverage kept the issue of retailers in hospitals on the agenda and saw journalists posing the question: “Should restaurants like Burger King be allowed into hospitals at all?”

In further positive news for the campaign, NHS England CQUIN targets for 2017-19 have now been released and, in part due to our pressure and our alliance’s comprehensive response to the NHS England consultation, the standards set are tougher, and go further towards creating a healthy food environment for hospital visitors and for 1.3 million NHS workers, served in hospital shops, restaurants and cafés.

A winning story: The Healthy Hospital League Table story resonated so much with Amanda Roberts a senior industry media editor, she turned down advertising from a company found by Sustain to be have performed poorly on compliance with healthy eating CQUIN targets, as being not in keeping with the aims of her publications. Amanda is editor of three publications in the healthcare and hospital sector: Hospital Food & Service; HefmA Pulse (Healthcare Estates & Facilities Management Association magazine) and AHCP Voice (Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals magazine).
Supporter numbers: 3,500 mailing list supporters; 1,993 Twitter followers (over 60 new Twitter followers this quarter); Healthy Hospital Food League Table story was retweeted and shared over 100 times.
Press coverage:


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

  • Second annual Roots to Work conference a success with 50+ people discussing growing enterprise
  • Autumn School Marketplace sees 30 pupils from 10 schools selling produce from their gardens
  • 18 borough-based organisations take part in workshop to discuss how to support growing projects

As the growing season came to a close Capital Growth reporting showed 127 community and school growing projects had been directly supported through events, training, funding and advice. Additionally, 307 people received training at 32 sessions held across ten sites, including organic food growing for beginners, urban foraging, companion planting and natural pest control. Of these, 12 sessions were targeted at gardens leaders, attended by 150 people, while the other 20 sessions were targeted at the general public of growers, with 157 people attending.

Our fifth School Marketplace was held at London’s City Hall in October as a part of the Food Growing Schools: London celebration event. Ten schools from eight different boroughs each hosted a unique stall selling produce from their garden, including pumpkin marmalade, '5-a-day' vegetable snack pots, and fresh grown salad, with Bulldog Tools providing great prizes to schools on the day.

Our event with local borough-based growing networks was organised at the Skip Garden near King’s Cross during November as an opportunity to re-connect with a diversity of key contacts from across the city. The day included talks from participants on how to successfully develop local networks, a workshop by Food Growing Schools: London on engaging schools, and breakout sessions on how to support community growing projects at the borough level.

The Roots to Work conference in November was a highlight of the quarter as 53 growers came together in Lambeth to learn more about careers and enterprise development in urban food growing. Workshops included how to start a small food business, how to sell what you grow, and how to diversify income streams for community projects. Feedback was positive and further demonstrated the importance of events that bring people together to share experiences. As one attendee said, the most valuable part of the day was: "Learning what other people are doing and how. Being inspired by what people have done. Swapping ideas about what does and doesn’t work."

Winning story: This autumn, Capital Growth completed a survey of garden volunteers, with over 100 respondents from gardens across London, to find out more about why people volunteer and how they benefit. As one participant energetically described volunteering, “I love it! Spending time with like-minded people, learning how to be a better gardener and enjoying growing, cooking and eating your own organic produce. Win-win!”

Supporter numbers: The number of garden members supported grew to 2,676; supporters receiving our emails was 2,896; social media following grew to 6,772 twitter followers and 2,800 facebook likes.


Children’s Food Campaign
Contact Malcolm Clark,

  • New restrictions announced on junk food advertising on children’s media
  • ‘Can the Tax’ industry campaign defeated, as Soft Drinks Industry Levy takes next legislative step towards implementation
  • We shine the spotlight on marketing practices of Kellogg’s and Coca-Cola

It has taken us many different forms of campaigning over the last few years, and a combined effort from many organisations, but the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the industry body that sets the self-regulated rules for advertising, has finally listened and acted on our alliance calls to reduce children’s exposure to junk food marketing. In December, CAP announced new rules prohibiting less healthy food and drink being advertised across all forms of non-broadcast children’s media (including online, magazines, cinema ads and billboards). The rules are a positive step and may go some way to removing the most blatant forms of such advertising to under-16s. But it looks like many of children’s favourite social media sites and Youtubers may not be covered. This is because the restrictions only kick in when the advert is placed somewhere with an audience of over 25% children. It is also greatly disappointing that CAP has taken no action to restrict the use of children’s favourite cartoon or film characters or other child-friendly brand characters on the actual packaging of sugary food and drink.

Also in December, the Treasury published the Draft Finance Bill, within which the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is included. This is the next stage in the process that should hopefully lead to the levy becoming law and coming into force in April 2018. Despite industry spending many £100,000s trying to block the measure, the tax is basically unchanged from the Treasury’s initial proposals, which is welcome news. We have not secured all we wanted in terms of the range of products and drinks included, but we did win arguments on getting promotional freebies included in the levy, as well as commitments from the Treasury on monitoring the levy once it has been introduced.

Through our ‘thank you’ card to the UK Chancellor signed by over 700 supporters, we enabled supportive voices for the levy to be heard in Whitehall. Our campaigning has put the spotlight on Coca-Cola and other soft drink companies’ huge lobbying efforts against the tax, and on the fact that some key food brands are not actually as hostile to it as their trade bodies are. As part of the Obesity Health Alliance, we have also kept up media, political and public interest in sugar reduction measures such as the levy.

On the day Britain’s major cereal brands sat down with Public Health England to discuss how they will cut sugar from their products, the Children’s Food Campaign brought media attention to ongoing promotion by Kellogg’s of sugary food to children and parents. Likewise, at the start of Coca-Cola’s annual Christmas truck tour, our ‘tooth fairies’ made a cheeky appearance at the first stop, handing out toothbrushes with #sugartax messages on and calling for the company to stop undermining children’s health.

Just before Christmas, we announced our ‘Children’s Food Heroes and Zeroes’ for 2016. These awards recognise those who have made a significant contribution towards helping the Children’s Food Campaign achieve its goals; and those who have put up roadblocks. For the first time we opened these annual awards to nominations from the public, receiving inspiring stories from individuals and groups UK-wide.

Winning story: In October, Malcolm was asked to give a short presentation about our response to the Childhood Obesity Plan to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Adult & Childhood Obesity. Their Chair, Maggie Throup MP, wrote afterwards to say: “I thought your presentation was extremely interesting, and I found it especially rewarding to listen to your direct experiences and knowledge of working with parents and children. We Parliamentarians often hear from the experts, but not often enough the views of those who have such an important role in tackling this issue.”
Supporter numbers: Our Children’s Food Campaign mailing list has grown to 10,119.
Press coverage: High-profile interviews on Sky News, Good Morning Britain and BBC London about junk food marketing; we were behind pieces in The Guardian, CityAM, and Bloomberg about industry lobbying against the sugary drinks tax; regular features in the trade press, especially The Grocer.


Children’s Health Fund
Contact Gloria Davies-Coates;

  • Children’s Health Fund awards eight projects funding for Holiday Food Provision in 2017
  • Total grant funding awarded in 2016 amounts to £128,000
  • Celebration Event brings together funders, beneficiaries and supporters
  • Children’s Health Fund contributes to Radio 4 PM programme on water accessibility in public spaces

The judging panel for the Children’s Health Fund Awards met in November to judge shortlisted applications received for the Holiday Food fund. The panel selected eight projects to receive funding awards, to be announced when the paperwork is complete. The total grant funding awarded by the Children’s Health Fund in 2016 is £110,000. A huge thank-you to all the restaurants that have adopted the voluntary sugary drinks levy to raise the money from customers for the grant programme. A full list of projects funded can be found at:

Progress reports from the previous Water Fountain fund show grants awarded have had a significant impact on water consumption of the children attending the projects. Most projects report an increase in water consumption and notably in some cases consumption of sugary drinks ceased altogether.

The first Celebration Event took place at Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Victoria, in October. Attendees included participating restaurants, grant award winners, advisory board members and supporters. Those gathered heard first-hand how funding from the Water Fountain fund has helped improve access to water for children in two funded projects. Grant recipients Orangebox youth charity made a film with their young people which can be viewed here:

The Children’s Health Fund will be administering two funding rounds in 2017. The timings and themes for the funding rounds will be announced shortly.

Press coverage: The Children’s Health Fund contributed to a programme on Radio 4 PM with Eddie Mayer about water accessibility in public spaces:


Crunch Ambassador Network
Contact Maria Deveraux,;

  • Third webinar on using food to engage people
  • Legacy planning

We organised a third successful webinar with the Sustainable Food Cities Network on ‘Engaging Families’ – including speakers from Fun Palaces, Eureka! The National Children's Museum and two Sustainable Food Cities. For recording/presentations: The Wellcome Trust is now evaluating The Crunch with independent research by Opinion Leader. The Eden Project and Sustain are discussing plans for a legacy for the Ambassadors Programme in 2017.


Sustainable Farming Campaign
Contact Vicki Hird,

  • Sustain runs session in main hall of Oxford Real Farming Conference, with 800 delegates each day
  • Blog published to alert members and others to how Brexit will mean change for the farming world
  • Sustain responds to Groceries Code Adjudicator Review and helps in coordinating other responses

The Oxford Real Farming Conference in January was an essential place to be to hear farm policy ideas, network and promote our work. Vicki chaired a Sustain debate with Tim Lang (Centre for Food Policy), Doug Parr (Greenpeace) and Helen Browning (Soil Association) to discuss post- Brexit farm policy and the concept of public support for public benefits. Attendance was around 350 and the event was covered in Farmers Weekly. Vicki also chaired a lively livestock session covered by the BBC and gave a short summary in the final conference plenary. Sustain were also speaking in two other sessions at the event. Sustain were mentioned by keynote speaker Olivier de Schutter as one organisation suitable to drive forward the vision of a real food revolution he feels is needed.

The deadline for the consultation on Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA) Review  Part 1 - Statutory Review and Part 2: extending its remit was the 10thJanuary. In addition to a short Sustain response we supported Traidcraft to promote the review, coordinate NGO and farmer responses and produce a valuable draft concept for how to extend the GCA. This is not the end of the process and we need to boost public pressure on BEIS to keep the GCA and extend its remit.

After pulling together a 3 year timetable with milestones and indicators for funders, Vicki is now knee deep in proposals and reports on what next for UK farming and planning how to provide support, coordination and campaigns with members, farmers and others so we get the chance to affect farm policy at this pivotal moment. She is meeting with members on workers’ issues, planning provocative blogs and roundtables for members. Vicki also commented on the new MP Environment Audit Committee (EAC) report on The Future of the Natural Environment after the EU Referendum saying it is vital to safeguard sustainable farming and the environment early in the Brexit process.

Press coverage: The Guardian ( used our quote on the EAC report and we are now waiting for the (much delayed) framework documents and/or Defra 25 year strategy on food and farming, around which the alliance will want to plan our strategy.


Growing Health 
Contact Maria Deveraux or Sarah Williams,

  • Successful 'Gardening for Wellbeing' conference with over 50 attendees
  • Final report produced, highlighting achievements including online toolkit and 270 people participating in events

In December, we organised a sell-out conference focusing on gardening and food growing for mental health and dementia, plus workshops on evaluating community growing projects. The day included speakers from the mental health charity MIND, a GP and health service commissioners. Sharing good practice, networking and a presentation on the commissioner's perspectives were highly rated. This project was self-financing as it was outside the scope of the funded project.

Sustain and Garden Organic submitted their final report to the Tudor Trust for the second phase of Growing Health, which ran from September 2014. During this time the project has helped many groups to build closer links to local health service providers and, for some, to secure health service commissions, through advice, events, training and through our online materials including a toolkit for commissioning. Through the network we have shared our understanding of the opportunities for food growing projects to work with the health service, reaching over 270 through events and many more online. Follow-on activities are now being developed, and a proposal will be submitted to the Tudor Trust.

Supporter numbers: 486 network members now receive email newsletters, with 1398 Twitter followers.


London Food Link
Contact: Chris Young,; Twitter @londonfoodlink

  • Winter Warmer brings together and inspires 60 people to talk good food
  • London Food Link gifts celebrate the scene and raise funds
  • Urban Food Fortnight feedback shows importance for raising the profile of good food in the capital

On 30 November, around 60 good food folk gathered in Covent Garden for the London Food Link Winter Warmer. Hosted by food enterprise incubator Startisans, the networking evening was the latest in London Food Link’s series of bringing together the people who grow, make, forage, cook, save, sell and simply enjoy good food in the capital. It followed the regular format of short talks about inspiring work, followed by nibbling and nattering. The event also raised £600 for LFL’s work. Feedback on the evening was overwhelmingly positive, with an average attendee rating of 3.7 out of 4, and comments including “As always, totally impressed”; and simply “Amazing!”.

Good food gifts launched by London Food Link during Urban Food Fortnight continued to sell well in the run-up to Christmas, not only celebrating the capital’s fantastic food scene, but also raising funds for London Food Link’s campaigns and activities:

Work began on the next major LFL events – a fundraising feast in March and networking evening in May – details of which will be announced in the New Year. We published many news items and regular updates through our monthly e-newsletter, The Electric Eel and continued our supporter drive.

Winning story: Our Urban Food Fortnight feedback survey, completed by 25 event organisers, indicated that approximately 11,000 visitors attended 87 events across the capital, with those responding highlighting the importance for raising the profile of good food in London, and the profile of their business. Feedback also showed that all would consider taking part next year. One respondent stated: “Really great initiative, we were thrilled to be involved, hope you enjoyed it!’

Supporter numbers: During the quarter, 59 people either joined London Food Link or renewed their support, bringing the total to 243; the number of friends receiving our monthly e-news rose to 4,868 and our followers on Twitter passed 10,000 mark (@londonfoodlink) in addition to 5,796 for @jelliedeelmag.


Jellied Eel magazine, contact Chris Young,;

Work this quarter was on completing issue 53 of Jellied Eel magazine, which largely focusses on the problem of food surplus and waste. Slowly, London is waking up to the ethical and economic cost of the problem – which is often avoidable. Thankfully, moves are being made to reduce this. Circular economy is one idea, taking outputs of a system and doing something with them, such as turning spent coffee grounds from cafés into biofuel. Elsewhere, initiatives are springing up to find better uses than landfill for the enormous levels of surplus bread and industrial loaves. This ranges from a delivery scheme that re-sells leftovers to raise funds for a kids’ charity, to a former Jellied Eel cover star brewing bready beer. At home, we can regrow salads from offcuts, or blend brown bananas into a delicious dessert. Some even make a business of it, such as turning windfall quinces into the English equivalent of membrillo.

Away from waste, we consider the equally worrying rise of poverty in our rich capital, the future of meat and the farmers who feed London. Our regular ‘Eel Loves’ column went on a mini-break to the coast, and we published our first restaurant review. Other features included:

  • The circular economy, looking at Bio-bean and Rubies in the Rubble
  • The Eel goes to…Brighton & Hove
  • The future of meat: Rosie Boycott interviews Abi Glencross
  • Farmers who feed London

The magazine also continued its mission to highlight Sustain’s work to 40,000 readers across the capital:

  • London Grows Wild, our new Capital Growth project
  • Beyond the Food Bank, looking at what boroughs are doing to address food poverty
  • Food Growing Schools London – an end of term report


London Food Board and Mayoral update

Kath received a very positive letter from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, in response to a joint letter she had coordinated in October with chefs Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and many other leading food and farming signatories. This had called on the new Mayor to recognise the importance of food policy for the capital, the many achievements over the past decade, and the opportunity to reinforce London’s reputation as a leader in the growing national and international Sustainable Food Cities movement. This backed up other behind-the-scenes work to secure a future for the London Food Board and Greater London Authority Food Programme, a renewed London Food Strategy and backing for an application for a Sustainable Food Cities Silver Award for food policy work over the past decade.

We are pleased to confirm that Mayor of London Food Advisor Rosie Boycott’s contract has now been extended, the Food Programme team has been reassured of their future, and the Mayor has given them the mandate to develop a new London Food Strategy, with broad areas of interest and a special focus on tackling inequalities. Open and competitive recruitment for 15 new London Food Board members is underway, for which Sarah Williams and Kath Dalmeny have applied as a job share to make best use of their shared and wide-ranging skills, experience and contacts. We are aware that other Sustain members and friends have applied and we should know the outcome later in February, after an interview process.


Good Food for London 2016 report, contact Sofia Parente or (from January), Maddie Guerlain,

Good Food for London is an annual report, first published in 2011 and compiled by London Food Link. It 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 2016 edition was launched to at London’s City Hall on 15 November jointly with the launch of the 2016 Beyond the Food Bank report and the announcement of the Local Government Declaration on Sugar Reduction and Healthier Food.

The report continues to be a powerful tool to encourage change in the practise and the policies of local authorities in London. The highlights for 2016 include:

  • 30 out of 33 London boroughs are doing more to improve the food available to their residents, workers and school pupils compared to 2015.
  • More London councils than ever are serving sustainable fish; higher welfare meat, eggs and dairy; and organic and freshly prepared food in schools.
  • Increased support is being shown by councils for food growing in the community and in schools and through local planning frameworks.
  • A total of eight boroughs plus the Greater London Authority's London Food Board are members of the Sustainable Food Cities Network.
  • The Healthier Catering Commitment is now running in 27 boroughs, the highest number since 2011, helped by local and national public debates on obesity and the need to tackle the problem locally.

Winning story: “I am certain we will be entering again this year and hope to rank well in the league table. We are passionate about food in the Borough.” Cabinet Member in a London Borough, April 2016


Local Government Declaration on Sugar Reduction and Healthier Food, contact Sofia Parente,

Commissioned by local authorities in East London and delivered by Sustain, this project will run until March 2017. The aim is to get local authorities in London to take local action on six key issues:

  • Tackle advertising and sponsorship
  • Improve the food provided in settings controlled by the Council
  • Reduce prominence of sugary drinks and actively promote free drinking water
  • Support businesses to improve their food offer
  • Run healthier public events
  • Raise public awareness

The idea for a declaration was well received during consultation with stakeholders. The initiative was finally announced at London’s City Hall on the 15 November in the event where Good Food for London and Beyond the Food Bank were also launched. Sustain is now promoting the initiative and supporting London local authorities interested in taking action. The Declaration will be a measure in the Good Food for London report from 2017 onwards, providing an extra incentive for local authorities to sign up.

Winning story: “The Declaration had an airing at the London Association of Directors of Public Health meeting yesterday, and met with a generally enthusiastic reception.” Director of Public Health in a London Borough, November 2016


London Food Poverty programme, Simon Shaw,

  • Beyond the Food Bank 2016 report is published and well received
  • End Hunger UK campaign’s Big Conversation launched
  • We help London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross to secure further details on the Mayor of London’s plans to monitor the extent of food poverty in the capital

The Beyond the Food Bank report covers 28 boroughs’ responses to our survey, with a foreword contributed by Matthew Ryder, the new Deputy Mayor for Social Integration: Over 120 representatives from boroughs and other partners attended the launch event.

As an example of how our report helps to promote uptake of the schemes included in the report, Yasmine Cumberbatch, Public Health Nutritionist at the London Borough of Kingston, spoke at the Beyond the Food Bank launch about her work increasing uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers. This work features in the report as an example of good practice. During her presentation, Yasmine set out the case for her work and provided practical advice to those attending the event. Her example also got some media coverage, hopefully giving her work greater profile as she pursues further action.

Twelve London boroughs applied for the Greater London Authority’s funding to develop five poverty action plans. Sustain assisted with assessing the applications. We will offer personalised advice and support to the five successful boroughs, and share learning with the other boroughs that applied.

Winning story: “Thank you. It was a great event. Very proud to have been a part of it.” Rosie Boycott, Chair, London Food Board on launch of our Beyond the Food Bank report.

“Thank you for this and for all you have done to help with meals on wheels in London.” Neel Radia, Chair of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC).

Press coverage: The Beyond the Food Bank report received regional/ local press coverage including: Letter in the Evening Standard:; and coverage in This is Local London, at: and


Real Bread Campaign
Contact Chris Young;; Twitter: @realbread

  • Our new recipe book – Slow Dough – is selling fast
  • The Campaign challenges Pret a Manger’s ‘natural’ marketing claims
  • We continue to attract supporters to our increasingly international network

Having been published in mid-September, Slow Dough: Real Bread, the Campaign’s first recipe book, had sold around 2,500 copies by early December. We’ll be asking readers for feedback soon, but online reviews have been very positive, gaining 4.8 out of five stars on a certain (we’re not publicising them…) megalithic book retailer website, and 4.4 on

After nearly a year and a half of correspondence with Pret a Manger’s chief executive, in December the Campaign published its belief that the company has no intention of resolving an apparent discrepancy between its products and marketing claims. In October 2016, the company’s CEO had told us that they had declined to switch to using a Real Bread bakery as “their prices were two to three times our current price and moving would cost Pret several million pounds”. Despite its continuing use of artificial additives, Pret seems to have no intention of declaring them on product/shelf labelling or removing the prominent ‘natural’, ‘fresh’ and anti-additive claims from its marketing.

We have continued to publish news items on the Sustain website and promote the work of members. For regular Real Bread Campaign updates sign up to receive the monthly e-newsletter Breadcrumbs.

Winning stories: Recent reader comments on our first recipe book, Slow Dough, include:

  • “This book is a baker's dream. They try to make things that sound really hard, seem really easy.”
  • “This book tells you all you need to know of the magical alchemy that goes into baking bread! A must for everyone's cookery book shelf. Very highly recommended.”
  • “This book deserves a place on your baking bookshelf. The book is an inspiration and a way forward for those of you who want a better bake.”

Supporter numbers: Over the three months, 250 people began or renewed support for our work (up to 1,309), with 5,156 Real Bread friends, while our following on Twitter passed 26,200.


Student Food Enterprise
Contact Tilly Jarvis,; Twitter: @foodcoops

  • Six student groups successfully applied for start-up costs and mentoring to set up food enterprises
  • UK food co-op mapping work begun
  • Initial results from our survey indicate food co-ops in the UK are thriving

Sustain has started to work with some of the students who successfully applied to the National Union of Students programme for start-up costs and mentoring to set up new food enterprises. Students from De Montfort and Exeter Universities will be setting up a weekly veg bag/box schemes and Keele University students will be adding dried wholefoods to the fresh produce they already sell on campus. The other three groups have plans to develop food preserving enterprises– jam-making at Blackpool and The Fylde College; dehydrated fruit and/or vegetable crisps at the University of Central Lancashire; and Learn to Cook classes at Roehampton, using preserved food which will then be sold in their café and market. On 12 December, Round 3 of the NUS Student Eats programme opened again with students able to apply for up to £1,000 start-up costs and mentoring to set up new food enterprises (deadline 17 February 2017).

It has been three years since we last updated Sustain’s very popular Food Co-ops Finder online map, first set up during the Making Local Food Work programme, in around 2010. To ensure all 251 groups featured on our Food Co-ops Finder are still operating and to find out how they are doing, we sent out a survey. Results so far have been really encouraging with over 80% of the groups agreeing or strongly agreeing that their co-op is thriving. Most food co-ops exist for a number of reasons but all of those surveyed said it was to give people access to both affordable and healthy food, one respondent summed this up by describing their co-op as ‘…a space where people can meet and network around food and health’. Interestingly, 60% sell fresh produce, 70% sell dried and preserved foods, 80% sell organic foods and 60% sell Fairtrade (most sell a combination of food types). Some of the food co-ops we surveyed are unfortunately no longer running, this was for a wide variety of reasons but for almost half of the respondents it was because they weren’t making enough money. The biggest challenges the existing co-ops said they face are a lack of volunteers and the fact they take up a lot of time.

A student from SOAS, University of London, who is researching food co-ops for her PhD is volunteering with us one day a week to map food co-ops across the UK. Through this work we hope to discover how big the food co-op network really is and what impact it is having on food and farming in the UK.

Supporter numbers: Mailing list, 71; facebook, 1,417 page likes; Twitter, 2,898 followers.


Sustainable Food Cities
Contact Ben Reynolds,; Twitter: @Foodcities

Food Poverty, contact Simon Shaw,

  • Four case studies published of innovative and/or financially viable models for meals on wheels
  • A Westminster Hall debate in Parliament supported our call for household food security monitoring
  • Proposal to Big Lottery submitted for 4-year programme supporting 30+ existing and emerging food poverty alliances throughout the UK
  • We were interviewed as part of an ‘in conversation with’ event by Mirror journalist Ros Wynne-Jones
  • Short guide to developing food poverty action plans published

Our Meal on Wheels case studies were promoted during the National Association of Care Catering’s (NACC) multiple TV, radio and press interviews during meals on wheels week:

In partnership with The Food Foundation and others, we brought together 100 academics and others on the need to measure household food insecurity, with perspectives from people and areas across the UK, Sustain was also mentioned in a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament on this topic. We have co-signed a follow-up letter to the relevant minister, asking him to clarify his position on the value of currently available data.

Based on the experiences of areas from around the UK which have plans in place, we published a short guide to developing food poverty action plans, and received good feedback on its content:, including from those applying for GLA funding (see London Food Poverty project, above).

Share a story: “Securing a commitment to measurement from the Government has proved immensely difficult. That is despite the interventions of the APPG and of the EFRA Committee, debates and questions in the House, and the work of organisations such as the Food Foundation, Sustain and Oxfam, which have consistently brought the data gap to the attention of officials in a variety of Departments.” Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Westminster Hall debate, 6 December

Supporter numbers: Food poverty newsletter recipients are now 249 (up from 149 at end of September).


Sugar Smart Contact Sofia Parente, @SugarSmartUK

This quarter has been spent developing the website, working on the design, programming and user-friendliness of the site, working closely with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. As well as linking to information about sugar, it provides a route for partners to sign up to run local campaigns around the country, and also organisations and businesses to make Sugar Smart pledges. These include taking action such as improving vending machines and introducing advertising/sponsorship policies to reduce the marketing of sugary products. Much work has been done on the content, for example case studies, template policies, a campaigner’s handbook, presentations and other assets for the local partners and participants. The site will be fully functioning by the end of January.

The London Borough of Lewisham launched their local campaign in October. Launches are planned for Bristol (13-14 January), Greenwich (17 January), Exeter (23 January) and Bexley (25 January). This will be the featured campaign of the Sustainable Food Cities Network in 2017, and SFC members will be able to apply for a small number of grants of £5K to run local Sugar Smart campaigns, available from January.

Supporter numbers: Sugar Smart has just set up Twitter and facebook accounts; mailing list is 50 people.


Planning Food Cities Contact Gillian Morgan,

There seems to be more activity on local plan making by councils across the country and this gives us more opportunity to help community food growers engage in policy making in their area:

  • Advice given to local food growers in the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
  • Responses submitted to Bromley, Greater London and Kensington & Chelsea
  • Our project was given a slot at Shared Assets’ conference on how to use land for the common good

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: or email Gillian Morgan:


Sustainable Fish Cities
Contact Ruth Westcott;;

  • Funding secured for Sustainable Fish Cities for two years, beginning in December 2016
  • Good Food for London report sees four London Boroughs improve their performance on fish, and Innovate Catering sign the Sustainable Fish Cities pledge
  • New 'Taking Stock' project begun to evaluate impact of Sustainable Fish Cities over the last 5 years

Sustainable Fish Cities has used the last quarter to 'take stock', applying to two large and three smaller funding sources, and commence a project to evaluate the overall impact of Sustainable Fish Cities, and identify the next steps to making sustainable fish the norm in the foodservice sector in the UK. Our research project will gather quantitative information about the proportion of the UK fish and seafood market that Sustainable Fish Cities is currently affecting. It will also research reasons why more businesses have not taken up sustainable fish, and what can be done to persuade them to do so.

Project officer Ruth Westcott was invited to address the Seafood Legacy 2020 Symposium in Tokyo in November. During and following this visit, we have been approached to work with Tokyo to share learnings from London, and inspire the organisers with the legacy that has been achieved in the UK, including an invitation to talk to policy representatives of the Japanese Embassy. Thus has begun a programme of work to make this happen, as well as to seek funding to support this work.

Winning stories: "I am really pleased to be able to sign the Sustainable Fish Cities pledge and say to all our customers (in London and in the whole of the UK) that they will only be served fish which is from healthy populations and caught responsibly. I hope that we can inspire all Boroughs in London to sign up to this worthwhile cause." Ken Navin, Chief Operating Officer, Innovate Services Ltd

"Hammersmith & Fulham Council is committed to becoming the greenest and most sustainable borough in London. If we want our schoolchildren to be able to eat fish for many years to come, we must protect our fish stocks today. I firmly believe that this is a small but important step to ensuring that this happens."  Councillor Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council

One of the team working to achieve sustainable fish for Tokyo 2020 told us that the Japanese Organising committee feel that a high standard is unachievable and therefore not worth pursuing. Sustain has demonstrated high standards are easily viable in practice, helping NGOs internationally make their case.

Supporter numbers: 1,566 are now on the mailing list to receive news and campaign updates.


Alliance projects


Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics
Contact Kath Dalmeny (Sustain); Emma Slawinski (Compassion in World Farming); Peter Melchett Soil Association; or scientific advisor Coílìn Nunan:

Emma Rose has been continuing to coordinate this important alliance project, which was founded by Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association and Sustain, and was supported by the Jeremy Coller Foundation until the end of 2016. As noted in the staff reports, our exceptional campaigner Emma Rose has now left the alliance to travel in the US. The Alliance is planning to recruit a new campaigner in February 2017, with funding for this post and the scientific advisor and some basic campaign costs underwritten by Compassion and the Soil Association pending further fundraising.

Before Emma Rose left in December, she prepared a compelling campaign impact report, setting out the very considerable activities and results achieved. This has been circulated to the Sustain Council for information. Highlights include:

  • The Alliance’s suggested phrasing on routine prophylaxis was adopted in its entirety by the EU ENVI committee - this proposal is currently being considered in Brussels, echoing Alliance priorities.
  • The British Poultry Council announced that during 2016 it ceased using preventative group treatments and only now uses antibiotics for therapy and metaphylaxis, thus becoming the first sector in the UK to meet a key Alliance ask.
  • The British Poultry Council (BPC) also announced that its chicken producers ceased using the critically important fluoroquinolone antibiotics during 2016. Ending fluoroquinolone use in all poultry was one of the main topics of the Alliance conference in April, which was attended by the BPC.
  • The National Pig Association announced in November that in 2016 it has been significantly reducing its antibiotic use, although precise data are not yet available.
  • Through our advocacy, including over 20 Parliamentary Questions, we have received clarification from Defra on their opposition to routine prophylactic mass medication of livestock.
  • The Alliance has alerted national and international media to several hugely significant developments. These include discovery of colistin-resistant MCR-1 gene in E.coli in England & Wales (Dec 15); the rising levels of use of ‘critically important’ fluoroquinolone antibiotics in the UK poultry industry (Feb 16), new data revealing the extent of continued farm antibiotic overuse across Europe (Oct 16) and the results of government research showing extremely high levels of resistance to critically important antibiotics in retail poultry meat (Nov 16).
  • In response to our E.coli study and public campaign, Waitrose updated their antibiotics policy - which is now in line with the Alliance’s position. Subsequently, the UK government’s Food Standards Agency acknowledged the problem and committed to work with retailers to reduce antibiotic use (an unprecedented move). Tesco and Sainsbury’s have also made significant commitments to act.
  • Through our investigations, we have revealed the first evidence of Livestock-Associated MRSA in British supermarket pork, and carried out the first study to examine UK-origin retail meat for resistance to a range of key antibiotics for treating dangerous E. coli infections in people.
  • The Alliance has produced two new scientific papers, three sector briefings, nine briefings on antibiotic use in different European countries, a report following our roundtable in June 2016, and co-authored a report on investor risk and farm antibiotic use.
  • In a period of ten weeks (Sept to Nov 2016), we secured front-page coverage in 5 national newspapers, including the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Guardian. Further coverage in national media has been extensive, with Alliance investigations and activities rarely out of the news. Over the last 20 months, we have been responsible for the majority of UK media coverage on this important issue.
  • We have built huge support within the health, medical and scientific communities, with over 50 leading experts publically endorsing our work. In November, 16 leading UK medics signed our public letter calling for a ban to routine preventative mass medication of livestock.
  • We have partnered with NGOs across Europe to drive public awareness (including Avaaz, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Consumers International, Science Museum & BEUC).
  • Alliance membership now includes 63 EU-wide organisations spanning health, medical, animal welfare and environmental sectors.
  • The Alliance was been shortlisted for the European Commission’s EU Health Award 2016.


Eating Better Alliance
Contact Sue Dibb:,

Eating Better co-hosted (with Friends of the Earth) a well-attended meeting on Livestock Post-Brexit at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in January, to get feedback from the farming community on our approach and are in discussions to host parliamentary events with APPGs.

Eating Better also established a consortium of organisations and commissioned research from the Institute for European Environmental Policy to help develop policy recommendations (to be published spring 2017. Further, they collaborated with the Food Climate Research Network to develop a workshop (November 2016) to discuss the role for civil society groups to better engage in climate policy and food.

Coordinator Sue Dibb was invited to contribute to Global Food Security Programme’s Paris Compliant Healthy Food Systems workshop and report (December 2016); and in November 2016, Eating Better was one of 12 groups that called on the EU Agriculture Commissioner to end EU funding for meat promotion.

After being selected to provide a ‘challenge’ to the marketing industry’s Do It Day initiative the winning team came up with the Are you Vegcurious? campaign aimed at young men. A film and adverts appeared in donated advertising space (UK billboard sites including Piccadilly Circus, a week of adverts on Scottish TV and adverts in the Guardian and Financial Times) plus social media support (estimated to the value of £100k). In 2017, Eating Better will work with partners Hubbub and World Resources Institute to roll the campaign out further and open up further dialogue about engaging this particular audience segment.

Eating Better is becoming an independent organisation in its own right, so we will no longer be updating the Sustain Board on its progress as an ‘alliance project’. It may become a Sustain member instead.


Organic sector development

As noted above, the EU funding application for the phase 3 of the Organic: Naturally Better campaign dominated the work over the last quarter. The announcement of the success of this joint bid with Organic Denmark to promote organic food and drink marks the start of a new three-year campaign to be run wholly by the industry partners. As the financial administration for the new phase switches from Sustain to the Organic Trade Board, we will no longer be updating the Sustain Board on this campaign’s progress as an ‘alliance project’. We will continue to promote this work by other means, and organic farming in general via our project work on sustainable farming and post-Brexit agricultural policy. The Organic Trade Board will remain a Sustain member.


UK Food Group

After deliberation by the UK Food Group management committee, hosting for UK Food Group is now in the process of being transferred from Sustain to management committee member Compassion in World Farming. UK Food Group are also currently recruiting for a new freelance coordinator, following the departure of Jean Blaylock for a new campaign role at Global Justice Now (now a member of Sustain). A further verbal update is available from Patrick Mulvany. As the financial administration for the new work switches from Sustain to Compassion, we will no longer be updating the Sustain Board on this campaign’s progress as an ‘alliance project’. The UK Food Group will remain a Sustain Observer.


Other alliance activities

Alongside new and urgent Brexit activities (see above), Sustain is continuing to work in partnership with the medical alliance Medact, and Kath chaired a session at their large-scale annual conference, entitled: ‘Healthy Planet, Better World: Bringing the health community together to address our global ecological crises’. It took place at the Quaker Friends Meeting House London, December 2016.


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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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