Call to spades for UK's local food movement

Sustain launch new network and magazine to help communities to take back control of their food.

Rhubarb: the magazine of the Local Action on Food networkCampaigners are challenging community groups and policy-makers to help people through the recession and seize the opportunity to create fairer, healthier and more environmentally friendly ways of feeding ourselves.

A new network and magazine have been launched today to help communities to take back control of their food. The publication, Rhubarb[1], is the magazine of the Local Action on Food network[2] - which helps community organisations from across the country to share experiences and inspiration about building a better food system.

Ben Reynolds from Local Action on Food, comments, “Something really special is starting to happen across the country. People are taking control of their food – where it comes from, how it's produced and where they buy it. Local Action on Food is bringing these groups together for the first time; from restaurants using ethical ingredients, to co-ops selling local food and supporting local farmers, or councils creating sustainable food strategies. There is a wealth of knowledge about what works, and the Local Action on Food network and Rhubarb magazine have been launched to share it.”

Ben Reynolds continued, “Food has a major part to play in our health, our economy and protection of the environment, let alone being fundamental to our survival. Communities are increasingly waking up to this. Some are turning over urban land for food growing, such as through the Capital Growth initiative in London[3], or through the dozens of Transition Town groups springing up[4].”

The first issue of Rhubarb magazine is launched today at the Making Local Food Work conference[5] in Birmingham, a gathering of the leading lights in the country's local food movement.

The magazine features:

  • Inspiring stores from some of the best local initiatives to improve the food system, and how to find out more and get involved.
  • News of the Real Bread Campaign to promote local and artisan bakers using real ingredients.
  • Information about what local authorities could do to help local people have a healthier, more ethical and environmentally friendly food system.
  • A critique of national Government's feeble attempts to influence food culture through the Change4Life campaign.
  • A diary of forthcoming events on local food and farming.
  • Expert commentary from some of the leading exponents of the alternative food scene, kicking off with Carolyn Steel[6], author of Hungry City.


For enquiries about the Local Action on Food network or copies of Rhubarb magazine, please contact Ben Reynolds on 0203 5596 777, or

 Download the first issue of Rhubarb as a 4.8mb PDF
  1. Rhubarb magazine is a new quarterly publication for community groups, food businesses and local policy makers to share news and information about building ethical and sustainable local food systems. See:
  2. The Local Action on Food network is run by Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, a national charity. See:
  3. Capital Growth is a campaign for 2,012 new food growing spaces for London by 2012. See:
  4. Transition Towns are communities getting together to find practical ways to deisgn a future that is not dependent on oil. See:
  5. Communities Taking Control is the theme of the Making Local Food Work one-day conference being held at Aston University in Birmingham on 30 March, 2009.
    Making Local Food is a five-year programme funded by £10 million from the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces Programme. A consortium of seven organisations, led by the Plunkett Foundation, is pooling its expertise to develop and promote different types of community food enterprise, giving advice to people all over England looking to re-engage and help others access good, fresh, local produce with clear origins. The programme aims to secure the long term future of thriving communities that are strongly connected with the land, that understand where their food comes from, and are empowered to respond to their own needs using community-led solutions.. For more information about Making Local Food Work please contact Elizabeth of Mar on 07870 276 375 or at See:
  6. Carolyn Steel is an architect and author of Hungry City: How food shapes our lives. See:


Local Action on Food


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Local Action on Food: The Local Action on Food network was run as part of the Big Lottery funded Making Local Food Work programme, 2007 to 2012. It has now closed.

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