With nearly 50% of all food eaten outside the home, catering and procurement offers one of the most effective ways to drive large scale changes in healthy and sustainable food. Plymouth is already engaged in a range of positive changes in relation to procurement, e.g. school meals service, hospital and care homes.
Our ambition is to transform catering and food procurement in Plymouth, with focus on locally produced, processed and distributed food wherever possible. Our aim is to increase access to locally produced food by ‘devising a system that makes local food an available, accessible and affordable option for local people’ (Soil Association, 2000). Locally-sourced nutritious food offers a number of benefits, including healthier diets, local markets for local producers, lower food miles as well as a better understanding between producers and consumers ‘re-localising the food chain is one way to reconnect it’ (The Regeneration Institute, Cardiff University).
Whilst there are already lots of exciting things happening in the city to transform catering and food procurement led by Food Plymouth and our partners, a concerted effort will be required to achieve the Sustainable Food Cities Silver award. There are a number of things we can do to transform catering and food procurement, including:
- Establishing a food procurement working group
- Adopting a city-wide Sustainable Food Procurement policy
- Persuading individual organisations to adopt sustainable food policies
- Encouraging caterers to achieve accreditation, tracking accreditation and promoting further uptake
- Helping procurement officers source more local food
- Helping small food businesses access local procurement
- Helping restaurants source more healthy and sustainable food
Over the next 2 years, will be building on what we have achieved already and taking action against a number of areas to help Plymouth on its journey to Silver Status. This will include hosting an event to bring together food producers and local buyers.