Local food movements UK

A very small sample of the many local and sustainable food movements in England and Wales

Green World
Tue 19 Jul 2016

Countrywide/International: Slow Food Foundation

The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity oversees the Ark of Taste project, which currently lists 2,000 local products from more than 70 countries that are in danger of being lost or forgotten because of industrial agriculture, environmental degradation and homogenisation. In the UK, there are currently 80 products listed, from aged Caerphilly cheese to Yorkshire forced rhubarb. Slow Food in the UK has also developed the Chef Alliance to encourage British chefs to use such forgotten seasonal foods on their menus.www.slowfood.org.uk?

Countrywide: Sustainable Food Cities?

A network of organisations facilitated by Food Matters, the Soil Association and Sustain, Sustainable Food Cities helps urban areas take a holistic approach to food. The network focuses on six key issues: promoting healthy and sustainable food; tackling food poverty, diet-related ill health and access to affordable healthy food; building community food knowledge, skills, resources and projects; promoting a vibrant and diverse sustainable food economy; transforming catering and food procurement; and reducing waste and the food system's ecological footprint. More than 40 areas are currently involved. www.sustainablefoodcities.org?

Countrywide: FareShare?

Part of a global movement aiming to 'alleviate hunger by capturing surplus food and delivering it to the people who need it', FareShare, which operates 20 UK regional centres, saves good food that would otherwise go to waste by sending it on to charities and community groups. In 2015, the organisation redistributed enough food to make 18.3 million meals for vulnerable people in the UK, turning an environmental problem into a social solution.www.fareshare.org.uk

Yorkshire: Incredible Edible Todmorden?

Founded in 2007, the Incredible Edible movement has grown from a few herb gardens dotted around the post-industrial market town of Todmorden to a movement involving over 100 projects around the UK, over 700 projects worldwide, and two spin-off social enterprise companies. With the motto 'If you eat, you're in', the volunteers in Todmorden engage with 'radical community building', growing vegetables to share wherever space can be found - from outside the police station to bus stop beds and even in graveyards - and now also running cooking workshops, organising festivals, and working with other local organisations 'to build a stronger, kinder community'.www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk?

Abergavenny: Abergavenny Food Festival??

Established by two local farmers in 1999 following the BSE epidemic, Abergavenny Food Festival is now the biggest food festival in Wales meant to 'celebrate the craft, diversity and culture of food from across the country'. Held each September, 39 local food and drink producers exhibited at the first festival, a figure that now tops 200, and is complemented by demonstrations, masterclasses and a 'Rude Health Rants' stage, where attendees can stand up for 'real, honest food'.www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com

Northumberland: Produced in Northumberland?

Launched earlier this year, 'Produced in Northumberland' is a verification scheme developed by Northumberland County Council, Active Northumberland and Northumberland Tourism, which aims to raise the profile, value and public confidence in Northumberland food and drink. The organisations estimate the economic impact of food tourism in the county to be nearly ?276 million a year, and the scheme has been designed to allow visitors to find producers, hospitality establishments and retailers making and selling Northumberland food and drink.www.northumberland.gov.uk/Campaigns/Produced-in-Northumberland?

Leicester: Wonky Vegetables?

Following on from chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's BBC series, Hugh's War on Waste, people are becoming aware of supermarket food chain waste. Indeed, up to 40 per cent of a crop of vegetables can be discarded for not meeting supermarkets' aesthetic requirements. While several UK supermarkets are now trialling 'wonky' vegetable lines, a Leicester-based company has started delivering wonky veg boxes locally, with the aim of 'normalis[ing] the purchase and consumption of wonky vegetables'. Surplus vegetables left over after it fulfils its orders are delivered to charity.www.wonkyvegboxes.co.uk?

Oxford: Cultivate?

With the aim of creating 'a better food system for Oxford', Cultivate uses its 'mobile greengrocer's shop', the VegVan to deliver local and ethical fruit and veg at regular stops around the city. The cooperative organisation is owned and funded by the community and also works to involve more people in local food through education and outreach programmes, as well as building new routes to market for local producers with the ultimate aim of 'creating a vibrant and wide-ranging movement for local food in Oxford'. www.cultivateoxford.org

London: London Food Link?

Billed as 'a network for people who grow, make, cook, sell and simply enjoy good food in the capital', Sustain's London Food Link runs several projects, including the London Food Poverty Campaign, FoodSave (offering food waste solutions to London businesses), Sustainable Fish Cities, the Urban Food Awards, and Capital Growth. The latter of these encourages Londoners to grow food - whether at home, on allotments or with farms, schools or community groups - and is a partnership between London Food Link, the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery's Local Food Fund.?The food growing network is associated with over 2,000 gardens throughout the city and offers in-kind support to urban food growers, including providing access to discounted training, networking events, support with growing to sell and equipment discounts.www.sustainweb.org/londonfoodlink

Brighton: Seedy Sunday?

Seedy Sunday is the UK's biggest and longest-running community seed swap. The main event takes place every February in Brighton and Hove, and involves more than 60 stalls, a line-up of speakers and cookery demonstrations, in addition to a seed swap table. The Seedy Sunday campaign, meanwhile, aims to protect biodiversity and protest against the increasing control of the seed supply by a handful of large companies.www.seedysunday.org

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed – Mahatma Gandhi