Good Food Economy

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A Good Food Economy means a diverse and thriving supply chain from ‘farm to fork’. It supports decent livelihoods for farmers, fishers and food producers at home and abroad, and ensures manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and caterers make healthy, sustainable and culturally appropriate options the easy and attractive choice for everyone, with minimal waste.

We all can change our food system by ‘voting with our purse’, but what we eat is mainly influenced by those who supply our food.

To transform our food system, we need existing and new enterprises to put sustainability at the heart of their businesses: From those manufacturers creating a circular food economy by giving food a value that would otherwise go to waste to those retailers shortening supply chains and building in better trading standards. We need to see a growth in these innovative and alternative businesses, as much as we need to shift mainstream practices to become more sustainable.

With more and more food being eaten or prepared outside the home, catering and procurement offers one of the most effective ways to drive large scale changes by ensuring more of the produce is healthier and meets higher ethical standards, supporting producer livelihoods and protecting the planet. With £2 billion of taxpayers money spent on food in our schools, hospitals, and other public settings, national, regional and local Government should lead by example, making sure the food they buy is healthy, and sustainable.

Food and farming is the UK’s largest employer, with 4.1 million people working in this sector in 2018. That’s 1 in 7 of the UK’s workforce.

Over 95% of groceries are sold through 9 retailers*

Every £1 spent locally through shorter supply chains could generate £3 in social, economic and environmental value. *

“Food, farming and fishing are being overlooked as mechanisms to drive economic recovery across the UK. And yet these sectors, particularly when more environmentally sustainable and making healthier options more accessible, affordable and attractive, could deliver on more jobs and better livelihoods.”
Ben Reynolds, Deputy Chief Executive, Sustain

What we're fighting for today

Championing high standards throughout the food supply chain and shifting government, policy to ensure good practice becomes commonplace, particularly in public sector settings e.g. serving certified sustainable fish, organic and fairly traded food, more fruit and veg, less but better meat.

Encourage better infrastructure and tailored business advice, to support shorter supply chains focused on agroecological farming and good food enterprises – and ensure these are accessible to everyone no matter their income, recognised as essential contributors to public health, the green economy and a just transition.

Create a target for increase in the market share of food traded through smaller, collaborative and diverse enterprises – including Real Bread bakeries, Better Food Traders, neighbourhood markets, social enterprises and other better routes to market – that champion accessible healthy and sustainable food, ethical trading, and who are farmer- and fisher-focused.

Our campaigns:

London Food Link is bringing together community-based food enterprises working to make good food accessible to everyone in London, whilst often providing wider support around skills, advice, and community togetherness. We are working to support them to trade sustainably, connect and learn from one another and to have a voice in the food sector.

Food Coops teamed up with student body NUS to create 28 food enterprises on university or college campuses between 2016 and 2019.

Bridging the Gap aims to make climate and nature friendly food available to everyone by demonstrating ways to build better supply chains for fairer, long term access.

Real Bread Campaign champions and supports around 1000 small, local, independent Real Bread bakers and have helped more than 10,000 children in at least 150 schools learn to make Real Bread.

Roots to Work is a platform to advertise and find sustainable food jobs in the UK, whose aim is to help improve the food system by raising the profile of career opportunities within the sector.

950 million meals served by caterers committing to sustainable fish in 2019 thanks to Sustainable Fish Cities.


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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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