FoodCities National Gathering

Two week’s ago a group of representatives from Lancaster’s FoodFutures partnership attended the national Sustainable Food City (SFC) gathering in Newcastle. I was joined by Rachel Marshall (N8 Agribusiness Knowledge Exchange Fellow from Lancaster University); Ellen Pearce (LESS’s FarmStart coordinator) and Martin Paley (FoodFutures chair, community fridge coordinator and gleaning enthusiast).

SFC opening addressWe all found the event to be inspiring and great for re-connecting with a network of groups across the UK that are working towards creating more sustainable and fair food systems – ones that work for both people and planet. It (and the two hour train journey home), was also useful for supporting us in reflecting on our work here in Lancaster and the potential for FoodFutures to develop and perhaps work towards a silver award?

The event also presented us with a great opportunity for exploring how sustainable food city partnerships can support local authorities in acting on climate emergency declarations in a way that is holistic and integrates food. To make the most of this opportunity, Rachel and I co-facilitated a session on this topic with Leon Ballin from the national SFC coordinating team. Leon opened the session with a brief introduction – highlighting the fact that many of the places that have declared a climate emergency (including Lancaster) have active sustainable food partnerships; offering potentially useful cross-sector platforms for engagement around the ecological and climate emergency. The workshop that followed was full of rich conversation and ideas for integrating food into climate strategies and an action came out for Sustainable Food Cities to develop a guidance pack for partnership coordinators. Notes from this session can be found here: Food partnership and climate emergency notes

Not only was the national Sustainable Food City gathering an inspiring and informative event to attend, but our work in Lancaster District was recognized and awarded a bronze Sustainable Food Cities award!

SFC Bronze LancasterThis award is a huge achievement given the amount of work needed to build and evidence the culture shift happening around food in Lancaster District – from the council and institution level through to the grass roots community food level. A huge well done and thank you to everyone who has been involved over the years! We plan to officially celebrate the bronze award in the autumn (October/ November time) with an event, food (of course!) and a session thinking about the future… Should we go for Silver?

You can read about all the amazing work going on in our District by downloading and reading the application form here. Every time I read through this document I am filled with gratitude at the diversity of work happening in Lancaster District and the amazing people that are driving and supporting this. I highly recommend creating the time and space to sit down and read through it.

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