13th November 2018
by Ian Smith
CATERed MD Brad Pearce and myself had the privilege of representing Food Plymouth at the Exeter Food Poverty summit. This event was organised and run by our friends and colleagues from Food Exeter and was held in the city’s historic guildhall.
The summit was opened by Cllr Duncan Wood, Cllr Rachel Lyons, Exeter’s Deputy Lord Mayor and Martin Goss from the Food Exeter Steering Group. Food Exeter Coordinator Karen Inwood then explained the steps necessary to develop Exeter’s Food Poverty Strategy. This included a moving account of a lived experience of such poverty.
Dr Rebecca Sandover of The University of Exeter and Food Exeter then presented Food Exeter’s initial research findings around Food Poverty before Simon Shaw of Food Power set out the national context and highlighted some examples of best practice in the UK. Two sessions focusing on tackling child hunger and malnutrition (the latter being defined as any kind of poor nutrition) and supporting the food needs of vulnerable adults then followed, featuring inputs from Karen, Rebecca, Exeter Head teacher Stephen Farmer and Tarn Lamb from Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change. Brad gave a powerful and inspiring account of CATERed’s holiday hunger programme, highlighting the essential role of the voluntary efforts of staff members and the generosity of suppliers in delivering this.
Breakout sessions on the topics of supporting low income families, tackling child malnutrition and supporting vulnerable adults then followed. The event concluded with a plenary session during which next steps were discussed, followed by a tasty and nutritious lunch provided by the excellent St Sidwell’s Centre Cafe team.
It was great to spend time in the company of so many talented and motivated people from across Devon and Cornwall, all sharing in the common mission of improving people’s lives through food. Well done to everyone in Food Exeter on bringing such a gathering together.