Good Food Governance

Bristol food leaders urge Government to invest in local food

By Bristol Food Network

Bristol Food Network joined 90+ local food leaders and MPs in Parliament to call on better Government investment in healthy and sustainable food. Bristol MPs Kerry McCarthy and Thangam Debbonaire also attended in support of transforming the food and farming system from the ground up. The ‘Investing in a better food future’ event on 14 June showcased the innovative role of food partnerships in improving local economy and community health.

Louise Delmege, Partnership Coordinator at Bristol Good Food 2030, met with Kerry McCarthy and Thangam Debbonaire and 90+ other local food leaders in the Houses of Parliament to call for greater investment in local food economies, nature-friendly farming and healthy food access as part of tackling the most pressing economic, social and health challenges facing Bristol.

On Wednesday 14 June, leaders from the Sustainable Food Places (SFP) network came together with MPs at Portcullis House, Westminster to recognise the power of healthy and sustainable food in transforming local communities and economies, charting national and local action towards a better food future. The event highlighted the role food partnerships such as Bristol Food Network play in attracting funding and investment and delivering long-term solutions to some of the most pressing issues in our food system, including food insecurity, supply chain disruption and inequity, and the climate and nature emergency.

Food partnership meeting at Portcullis House, Westminster

Louise spoke to MPs about the Bristol Good Food 2030: A One City Framework for Action, launched this week. They discussed how better investment in local supply chains, good food enterprises and community access to healthy and sustainable food can grow the local economy and improve public health. Louise said: “Speaking to both Kerry and Thangham about our recently published Framework was brilliant and it was great to hear from Thangham that she’s committed to keeping Labour’s commitment to making food security a reason to intervene in the economy.”

Sustainable Food Places Local Action Coordinator Vera Zakharov said: “Food Partnerships are true local trailblazers, taking innovative approaches to build better and more resilient supply chains, create good food jobs and bring communities together over healthy, sustainable food. In the absence of a joined-up Government Food Strategy, Food Partnerships are setting an example locally and regionally that should be scaled up nationally. It is time that the Government recognises their contribution by committing to a Food Bill in every nation and a food partnership in every area in the UK.”

Sustainable Food Places Programme Lead Leon Ballin from the Soil Association said: “This will be the biggest turnout to date for our partnership leaders and they want to send a clear message to Government that they have a significant role to play in steering a resilient approach to food policy, security and healthy communities. They each have a track record of delivering robust strategies which engage local government, communities and businesses to build successful and sustainable partnerships.

“We are very grateful for the MPs who have supported the SFP network so far, but it is now time for the Government to step up and invest in this proven model to ensure the UK’s long-term food security and to share best practice on all aspects of healthy and sustainable food for all.”

Sustainable Food Places brings together pioneering food partnerships from towns, cities, boroughs, districts and counties across the UK that are driving innovation and best practice on all aspects of healthy and sustainable food. It is a partnership programme led by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain and is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Many of the partnerships came to prominence supporting their local areas through the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. But food partnerships also work on long-term solutions to food insecurity, increasing resilience and capacity of local communities to transition from food aid to food trade, build better networks around food and food production, and foster local enterprise.

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So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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