Sustainable Food Places
From obesity and diet-related ill-health to food poverty and waste, climate change and biodiversity loss to declining prosperity and social dislocation, we believe food is not only at the heart of some of our greatest problems but is also a vital part of the solution.
Sustainable Food Places (previously Sustainable Food Cities) is one of the fastest-growing social movements today. Our Network brings together pioneering food partnerships from towns, cities, districts and counties across the UK that are driving innovation and best practice on all aspects of healthy and sustainable food.
Sustainable Food Places is a partnership programme led by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. It is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund. Nourish NI are the national partners for Northern Ireland.
We believe that a transition to a healthy, sustainable and more equitable food system requires not only strong national policy but also collaborative action between policy makers, businesses and civil society at the local level.
We are supporting four partnerships in Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Derry City and Strabane Council, Mid and East Antrim Council and Newry Mourne and Down Council. Each Council has established cross-sector food partnerships involving local authority and public sector bodies, third sector organisations, businesses and academic institutions that are delivering a strategy and action plan for making healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live.
We provide grants, advice and support to enable local food partnerships to drive changes to local policy and practice and to undertake campaigns, practical projects and public engagement initiatives.
As members of the Sustainable Food Places Network, partnerships are committed to sharing their learning and expertise as part of a community of evolving good practice. We have also created a national award scheme, based around the framework for action, that benchmarks, motivates and recognises achievement.
Due to the complexity and interconnectedness of these issues, we promote a systems approach that involves and connects key actors at all levels and across all parts of the food system. This approach is encapsulated in the six ‘key issues’ of our framework for action:
Taking a strategic and collaborative approach to good food governance and action
Building public awareness, active food citizenship and a local good food movement
Tackling food poverty, diet related ill-health and access to affordable healthy food
Creating a vibrant, prosperous and diverse sustainable food economy
Transforming catering and procurement and revitalizing local supply chains
Tackling the climate and nature emergency through sustainable food and farming and an end to food waste.
We believe that food partnerships can drive a fundamental shift in local food culture and the local food system and become the hub of a rapidly growing good food movement of active and engaged citizens.
How to get involved
Sustainable Food Places works closely with its member food partnerships to drive a shift towards a healthy and sustainable food system. We aim to connect and support all efforts - whether at an individual or organisational level - to improve people’s lives and reduce our impact on the planet through food.