Good Food on the Public Plate: What we have done and what we have learned

The Good Food on the Public Plate ran as part of the London Food Strategy Local Food Infrastructure project from 2008 to 2011, helpingpublic sector organisations to buy and use more sustainable food. This report outlines the project's achievements up to 2009 and sets out the case for further work.


Good Food on the Public Plate - what we have done and what we have learnedThe Good Food on the Public Plate ran as part of the London Food Strategy Local Food Infrastructure project from 2008 to 2011, helping public sector organisations, such as local authorities, schools, universities, hospitals and care homes to buy and use more sustainable food. This report outlines the project's achievements up to 2009 and sets out the case for future activities and policy.

We are delighted to report that the changes this project has supported already add £144,700 of measurable change to purchasing sustainable products, and another £570,000 of measurable change is anticipated before the end of 2009. Previously, this public money was spent on food with poor sustainability credentials. In addition, several major London public-sector organisations are implementing policies and catering practices that are reducing packaging waste, diverting food waste to compost, and building relationships with sustainable farmers and distributors. We are also working with a cluster of London public-sector institutions to harness their significant collaborative buying power, and are planning more high-level successes in the future.

To date we have provided business support to 62 organisations, and
training to 47 individuals, surpassing our targets of 50 businesses supported and 15 individuals trained.

One of the key projects we have been working on is the pan-London cluster which has the potential to influence a very significant amount of public spending, resulting in both savings and increased sustainable procurement. The cluster participants do not have the staff time to pursue the collaboration without the assistance that Good Food on the Public Plate is currently providing. Our report therefore contains recommendations for further development of this successful collaborative procurement model, which has the potential to influence millions of pounds of public sector food spend in the capital.

The objectives set out by Good Food on the Public Plate also appear to be relevant to the standards currently being discussed by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG). If these high sustainability standards are set into LOCOG’s food policy GFPP’s potential role may become even more important. GFPP could help create a significant and stable market for sustainable food after the Olympics. If these standards are set into policy by LOCOG there is a link between the legacy of those standards and the supply set up for LOCOG and the public sector in London.

PROGRESS UPDATE (2012): Since this report, Sustain has supported the Greater London Authority and local authorities in London Boroughs to increase their use of healthy and sustainable food. This work has been undertaken as part of Good Food on the Public Plate project and the Good Food Training for London project.

In 2010, we are proud to report that the Greater London Authority family of statutory organisations (police, fire brigade, transport and City Hall) committed to adopting a sustainable food policy in line with the London 2012 Food Vision, to which Sustain also contributed extensively.

Sustain was also invited to help design and support implementation of food standards for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For background, see: www.sustainweb.org/olympicfood - and for the Food Legacy project, inspired by the London 2012 Food Vision, see: www.foodlegacy.org.

In addition, millions of pounds of local authority food buying is now spent on sustainable food due to the work of Good Food on the Public Plate and the Food for Life Partnership. The increase in uptake of healthy and sustainable food by London's local authority procurement is tracked in London Food Link's Good Food for London report.
In 2012, Sustain launched the Campaign for Better Hospital Food. Please get involved to help win compulsory health and sustainability standards for food served in hospitals!

Report contents

1. Introduction

2. What we do

  • Auditing food purchasing
  • Brokering supply chain links
  • Advising on contract specifications
  • Advising on purchasing
  • Offering guidance on sustainable food procurement policies
  • Providing networking opportunities
  • Liaising with suppliers 

3. Achievements 

  • Achieved to date 
  • In the pipeline
  • Long term
  • Additional targets for the next four months

4. Events

  • Contracts: A fresh look
  • Supply workshops  
  • Meet the buyer 
  • A showcase

5. Feedback from participants

6. Results achieved

7. Lessons learnt

8. Next steps for Good Food on the Public Plate

Appendix 1: Details of a range of participants and our work with them

 


18/10/2009
Good Food on the Public Plate

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