The LFP News Blog started life as the Feed Leeds Think Tank. Feed Leeds is primarily a food production / food growers support network, and the Think Tank was its home for discussion about the city-wide food system. It was here that the Leeds Food Partnership was incubated, but now Feeds Leeds is just one Partner among many across Leeds. Please open in a new window to comment, and contact us for membership if you’d like to post.
The Leeds Food Partnership held a “Call to Action” workshop on 28 September at St Chad’s Parish Centre. The workshop was opened by Cllr Yeadon, who spoke encouragingly about the LFP and working collaboratively to create a fairer and more sustainable food system for the city. Ben Messer (Food Matters – part of the Sustainable Food Cities partnership) facilitated the workshop, which was attended by 30 people from across the Leeds food system.
The purpose of the workshop was to encourage people to take an active role in creating a food action plan for Leeds. When developed collaboratively, a food action plan will be a valuable resource for the city and will provide a more coordinated and joined up way of working towards a healthier and more sustainable food system for Leeds.
The workshop was organized around the four themes of sustainability:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Social Sustainability Building Communities, Social Capital and Resilience
- Economic / Employment
- Environment / GHG / Pollution
During the workshop, participants were encouraged to work under the theme that best represented their area of work or expertise to answer the following questions:
- What is already happening?
- What more needs to happen?
- Who should take this work forward?
Hundreds of post-it notes were then organized into categories decided by the group, and everyone then went around all four themes and rated what they felt were the most important issues and what the LFP should consider taking forward into a food action plan. The next step is to create working groups for each of the four themes made up of people with both an interest and expertise in that area, plus some time and commitment to see the process through.
The post-it notes have now been collated into a report that can be used to inform the working groups, but it will be up to the working group to determine which issues to take forward and what the aims, objectives and actions will be for each issue. The action plans for each working group will then be combined into a single food action plan for the city.
It may sound like a complex process, which it is, but that’s why we’re breaking down into bite-size chunks to ensure it is manageable and achievable.
How can I get involved?
If you would like to join a working group or perhaps take on a leadership role – that would be fantastic! It’s important that the actions are developed collaboratively and that people and organizations feel a sense of ownership, so the more people involved in the process and with the commitment to see it through, the more successful the action plan will be. So do get involved!
Drop me an email Sonja.email@example.com and I’ll be happy to provide more details.
All resources from this year’s annual Conference ‘Food Futures: Building a Good Food Movement for the 21st Century’ held on the 12th-13th June in Edinburgh are available on the SFC website: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/about/sfcconference2017
View the conference programme
News of our Letter to George Eustice asking for the work of local food partnerships to be recognised in Government policy making: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/newsevents/news/articleid/784/sustainable-food-cities-partnerships-address-letter-to-government-for-recognition-of-their-work
The great blog written by Ben Reynolds at Sustain following the conference, reflecting on the coming of age of a movement.
On 12 June, Tom and I drove to Edinburgh to represent the Leeds Food Partnership (LFP) at the Sustainable Food Cities annual conference. It was an excellent couple of days surrounded by inspiring people all working to bring about change to their local food systems.
The conference began with an awards dinner that celebrated the achievements of Manchester and Middlesbrough in attaining the SFC Bronze Award and London the Silver Award – all very impressive and definitely something Leeds will aspire too. Following the meal we got caught up in a frenetic Ceilidh, which was the perfect way to get initiated into the network!
The following morning representatives from the network of 50 member cities, towns, boroughs, plus those looking to join and develop food partnerships, attended the conference to work together to build on the good food work happening across the country.
Over the course of the day I attended two workshops – the first focussed on building a local good food movement, where we heard about the experiences of Brighton and Hove, Bristol and Cambridge, all of which have taken different paths to building strong food movements in their cities. The discussions focussed on the importance of engaging across a broad range of stakeholders, which the LFP already recognizes and is building a firm foundation through our partnership working. There’s a lot of fantastic food work happening across Leeds and it is important that this work is supported and celebrated. Meanwhile, Tom was at a workshop on how best to engage with businesses, and how local award and recognition schemes can motivate businesses to get actively involved in promoting and providing healthy and sustainable food.
The second workshop focused on getting the basics right and was aimed at new food partnerships that are just getting started, like us in Leeds. It is well documented that the food partnerships that are most likely to succeed are those built on firm foundations, involving the right people and the right process. We heard from Leicester, which has been going for quite a while, as well as Aberdeen that like Leeds is in the early stages.
Throughout the conference it was clear that Leeds has a lot of great work happening all across the food system and now it’s the time to pull it together and develop an integrated approach to food for the city. Tom’s workshop with Ben Messer explored Sustainable Food Cities new ‘health check’ interactive tool for assessing the strength or your SFC partnership and programme, as well as providing a Q&A and learning exchange session on how to strengthen key aspects with SFC staff and practitioners.
In closing, Ben Reynolds from Sustain, one of SFC’s partner organizations, suggested that SFC was no longer a network of cities but the beginning of a good food movement. A network shares ideas and information, whereas a movement creates change.
It’s fantastic that Leeds is part of this movement and working to bring about change both here in Leeds as well as across the country. The LFP is aiming to achieve the SFC Bronze Award in 2018, but to do this we need the help of charities, businesses, academia, Leeds City Council, community groups, NHS and individuals to join the Leeds Food Partnership and to commit to working together to achieve the aims and objectives of the upcoming Leeds Food Charter.
For more information about the Leeds Food Partnership and how you can get involved, please contact Sonja.firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter @LeedsFoodP
On 24th of May, three very strong candidates were interviewed for the post of Food Coordinator, funded by Sustainable Food Cities and University of Leeds N8 Agrifood Group. All three candidates had a great deal to offer and it would have been perfect if we could have hired all three, but we’re delighted to announce that the successful candidate was current Feed Leeds Chair; Sonja Woodcock.
This is a major milestone in a journey that started at the very first Feeds Leeds meeting in 2012, was driven forward initially by Dr Chiara Tornaghi, then by Andy Goldring, Nigel Jones, Tom Bliss, Professor Les Firbank and above all Sonja herself – so this is a fitting reward for some very hard work on her part over the past 18 months. Sonja will start working 2.5 days per week at the beginning of July, and will be based at Zest Health for Life – soon to be housed in the old Fire Station in Gipton.
One of Sonja’s early tasks will be to complete the evolution of the Leeds Food Partnership into a fully independent organisation, of which Feed Leeds will be but one member (the one that represents food growers and those with related activities), rather than the host. She will also begin to develop the Partnership. If you would like to become a Partner, please start by joining our Linkedin Group