14 cities and local areas receive funding from Sustainable Food Cities to run Veg Cities campaigns. Nottingham and Glasgow are the first to launch their campaigns in August, following successful pilots in Cardiff, Brighton & Hove and Birmingham.
Veg Cities is a feature campaign of Sustainable Food Cities led by Sustain in partnership with the wider Peas Please initiative with the aim of increasing availability and consumption of vegetables. The 14 food partnerships that received funding to run local Veg Cities campaigns are in: Aberdeen, Bournemouth & Poole, Brighton & Hove, Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, Glasgow, Hull, London Borough of Lewisham, Luton, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.
Glasgow is launching the campaign at a community growing networking event. The city has around 90 community gardens but the Glasgow Community Food Network is advocating for more. Veg City Glasgow will work to get food growing recognised as a legitimate use in the future City Development Plan so more land is released, establish a Growers Cooperative, get more locally grown veg into local restaurants and shops, organise pop up markets, ‘Meet the Grower’ events and a 'Chef Challenge' competition to come up with the best local food dish using ingredients from community and market gardens.
Partnering with food growing and social eating spaces, the Nottingham Good Food Partnership is organising a ‘Children’s Veg Power! Festival’ where hundreds of children will have the chance to taste seasonal locally grown vegetables prepared by international cooks and to take home their own decorated pot of veg to grow at home. There will be a host of creative activities and street games. Nottingham wants to get young children in deprived areas of the city to eat more fresh vegetables. This event will be followed by a Travelling Veg Show going into primary schools, festivals and community markets and holiday fun and food events to tackle holiday hunger.
Over the next year and a half, some Veg Cities campaigns will concentrate their efforts in areas of higher deprivation and will set up veg stands, cooking classes for the community, growing spaces and improve the uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers (which subsidise vegetables).
Others will grow more and will work towards getting more locally grown veg into local supply chains. Collectively, the campaign aims to get hundreds of gardens across the UK involved in a Big Dig Day next Spring to kick off food growing for the season and help them measure how much veg they grow in 2019.
Veg Cities will promote vegetable consumption through schools, events and festivals and will be joining forces with Veg Power to display veg adverts later this year.
Sofia Parente, Campaign Coordinator at Sustain, one of the three partners coordinating the Sustainable Food Cities network, commented:
“We are beyond excited so many local areas want to run a Veg Cities campaign. More veg production and consumption brings so many benefits locally: for the environment, for our health, for the local economy and social cohesion. The time is ripe for local action on veg and we hope other local areas across the UK will be inspired to join in, register and run their own Veg Cities campaigns.”
To get involved go to https://www.vegcities.org/
Veg Cities: Veg Cities is a feature campaign of the Sustainable Food Cities led by food and farming charity Sustain in partnership with the wider Peas Please initiative led by the Food Foundation, Nourish Scotland, Food Cardiff and WWF.
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