Plymouth has won the prestigious Sustainable Food Places Silver Award.
This recognises the work of Food Plymouth – the city’s local sustainable food partnership – in promoting healthy, sustainable and local food and tackling some of today’s greatest social and environmental challenges: from food poverty and diet-related ill-health, to the disappearance of family farms and the loss of independent food retailers to the role of the food system and food businesses in countering the climate and nature emergencies.
The Sustainable Food Places (SFP) Awards are a national, evidence-based recognition and celebration of places taking a joined-up, holistic approach to sustainable and healthy food. Awardees have demonstrated activity and impact across their food system by the food partnership and their stakeholders to create a local Good Food Movement. This is a recognition of the excellent work of the food partnership and of stakeholders across their area.
A SFP Silver Award demonstrates that a particularly diverse, robust, and sustainable cross-sector food partnership is in place with strategic long-term plans. These include a range of local authority policies and food access initiatives as well as effective promotion and access to sustainable and healthy food for all. Also evidenced is a diverse and connected local good food movement. Sustainable food enterprises have a significant role in the local economy, backed by local catering and procurement practices and systemic responses are addressing the negative climate and nature impacts of the local food system.
Leon Ballin, SFP Programme Manager, said: “Plymouth has shown just what can be achieved when creative and committed people work together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live. While there is still much to do and many challenges to overcome, Food Plymouth has helped to set a high benchmark for other members of the UK Sustainable Food Places Network to follow. We look forward to working with them over the months and years ahead to continue to transform Plymouth’s food culture and food system for the better.”
Confirming the Silver Award for the city, the national SFP team praised the “strong relationships across Plymouth and a regional leadership role”, with Food Plymouth actively supporting and connecting with recently established county level food partnerships in Devon and Cornwall. A particularly strong track record on the Healthy Food for All strand of work was also highlighted.
Ian Smith, from the Food Plymouth Core Enabling team and Food Plymouth CIC, commented:
“The Sustainable Food Places Silver Award is a very welcome recognition of the sustained efforts and collective impact of Food Plymouth’s cross-sector and inter-disciplinary partnership and network, and Food Plymouth CIC which provides its infrastructure support. The drive now shifts to achieving the highly demanding SFP Gold Award standard. This requires significant expansion and up-scaling. Our supportive and collaborative culture featuring leadership at every level means that Plymouth is well-positioned to accomplish this.”
Tami Skelton from Food Plymouth’s Core Enabling Team and Food Plymouth CIC said:
“I am proud to be living and working in a city which has collaborated widely and come together to demonstrate a huge passion for making Plymouth a sustainable food place, where good food is considered as a mechanism for improving overall health and wellbeing. It’s important to remember that the city has only achieved the Sustainable Food Places Silver Award because of the dedication and consistent activity of the Food Plymouth partners and members, no matter whether a large organisation or an individual – all equally important and had a role. But, there’s no time to sit back and relax – there’s so much more we can do.”
Key to the success of the food partnership’s work is a strong working relationship with Plymouth City Council. The Food Plymouth partnership and network members and their Community Interest Company infrastructure organisation have been working closely with the Council in recent years. These collaborative partnership endeavours span issues as diverse as ensuring food support for households during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, development of community growing spaces and supporting new initiatives to grow Plymouth’s Good Food Economy.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Housing, Cooperative Development and Communities, said:
“We are absolutely thrilled that Plymouth has won a Sustainable Food Places Silver award. We have worked with the Food Plymouth partnership for many years, with a joint goal of making Plymouth a place where everyone can access healthy, locally produced, affordable food. Our aim is to create a sustainable food system that supports people who are struggling financially, which includes working with FareShare to ensure that food surplus does not go to waste. We have funded projects such as Grow, Share, Cook, a partnership with local food producers Tamar Grow Local, that provides locally grown veg and cooking skills for low-income households and are now funding a Food Co-op worker to set up affordable food clubs in some of the most deprived communities in the city. We look forward to continuing to work closely with all our partners to make Plymouth a fairer city.”
While the Silver award is a key milestone on Plymouth’s Sustainable Food Places journey, attention is already shifting to driving on to the SFP Gold award. In this vein, a range of exciting new initiatives are launching in the city in the coming days, weeks and months. Food Plymouth’s Sustainable Food Places Coordinator Sophie Paterson explains:
“In an exciting seven days that sees the relaunch of Plymouth’s vibrant cross-sector Sugar Smart campaign and ambassadors network for Sugar Awareness Week 2023, Food Plymouth is also delighted to launch a new set of awards for public and private sector catering businesses at the Food Plymouth Community of Dragons event on 16th November. Developed in collaboration with Plymouth City Council’s Public Health department, the Best Food Forward Awards will recognise and celebrate institutional and hospitality settings making healthy, sustainable and local food a priority, serving their communities in the best possible way with food that is good for both people and planet, aided by a dedicated toolkit of resources. Alongside this will sit a new Good Food Directory for Plymouth, helping members of the public locate where they can source and support good food enterprises of all kinds across the city. Ultimately, everyone has a stake in their local food economy – with a new online action pledger for businesses, organisations and citizens, we can all put Plymouth’s #BestFoodForward into the future, together. ”
For more information about these and all of the latest opportunities to get involved, visit the Food Plymouth website and follow @foodplymouth on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Interested parties can also reach out to the Food Plymouth team by emailing email@example.com.