Transform food planning in your area

Find out how to get involved shaping the future of your local area to create a more sustainable and local food system.

Planning Food Cities is an online toolkit designed to help community organisations use the planning system to support community food growing.


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What has planning got to do with community food growing

Food growing communities usually come across the planning system either when a valued space is under threat from a developer applying for planning permission or when they have to apply for planning permission themselves. However, communities can also play a proactive role in planning by helping to set the policies which will be used to assess planning applications.

Planning policies can support local food growing by:

  • Providing space for growing food within new developments
  • Including edible plants and trees in planting schemes in new developments
  • Encouraging local groups starting a community food growing space
  • Protecting open space under threat from a proposed development
  • Using land for food growing on a temporary basis eg pending its redevelopment.

Planning for community food growing space

Sustain is supporting food partnerships in Sustainable Food Cities to get engaged in local plan making – specifically to increase the provision of space for community food growing.

We have already published guidance for planners on writing policies for community food growing. This online toolkit will contain stories from the point of view of community food growers. Sustainable Food Cities will be passing on their experience of getting involved in planning through this website over the next year.

We will follow them as they find out what the planners are doing, learn the language of planning policy, get political support and make submissions as part of the formal process of making local plans.

Planning food cities - other food issues

Don’t forget that planning policy can also

  • Protect and increase both the number and the diversity of types of food retail outlets – such as hot food take-aways, small shops and markets - locally, and within easy walking distance of communities, or by public transport.
  • Discourage food waste, and stimulate productive and/or environmentally benign ways of using unavoidable food waste.
  • Support jobs in the food and farming sector by encouraging small- and medium-sized food enterprises (SMEs), such as markets and on-site farm shops, and local and regional distribution infrastructure.

For more information see Sustain’s report: Good planning for good food - using planning policy for local and sustainable food, Local Action on Food (2011) Please note that national planning policy has been updated since this report was published.

Download the report


The local plan making system differs in each nation. We are working in detail with English cities. Other communities must apply the lessons learnt to the system in their own country.

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Planning Food Cities

Find out how to get involved shaping the future of your local area to create a more sustainable and local food system.

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244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

0203 5596 777

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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