Brighton & Hove Launches Bid To Become UK’s Gold Sustainable Food City

Food cityBrighton and Hove’s bid to become the UK’s first to Gold Sustainable Food City kicked off the starter-blocks on Sunday night.

Leader of Brighton and Hove Council Daniel Yates formally set the gold bid in motion as he unveiled Brighton and Hove’s new five-year Food Strategy Action Plan at a gold-themed event at Brighton & Hove Food Partnership Community Kitchen. 

Councillor Yates said: “Brighton and Hove has been a beacon of good practice in making food a focus for positive change. We were the first UK city to receive a silver Sustainable Food Cities award in 2015 and with this Food Strategy Action Plan in place there is nothing stopping us being the first to gain the gold. The City Council is fully behind this bid.”

The Sustainable Food Cities awards recognise and celebrate the success of towns and cities taking a joined-up, holistic approach to food. 

The Action Plan sets out some 200 actions which more than 100 organisations in the city have committed themselves to achieving. These include:

  • Introducing a citywide approach to eating more veg.
  • Establishing a Malnutrition Task Force. 
  • Committing food industry employers to pay the Living Wage.

While the Food Strategy Action Plan will run from 2018 to 2023, the gold bid could be achieved as soon as spring 2020. Brighton & Hove Food Partnership leads the city’s food strategy work and is spearheading the push for gold. 

Vic Borrill, Director of the Food Partnership, said: “Most actions on our first food strategy action plan have now been completed. The city can boast great achievements, including bucking the national trend by reducing the number of overweight and obese children, increasing breastfeeding rates to 25% above the national average and tripling the number of community gardens.

“Brighton and Hove has featured in Government best-practice case studies and our approach to tackling food poverty is now a model for other UK cities. 

“Despite this, food poverty persists, there are neighbourhoods where accessing fresh veg is hard and junk food advertising is everywhere. 

“This new Food Strategy Action Plan 2018-2023 is our most ambitious plan yet. And as well as commitments from the council, health and wellbeing organisations and food businesses, there is space in it for actions from everyone. If you’re a parent, add an extra portion of veg to your children’s evening meal. If you run a food business, ditch single-use plastics. Local schools can get involved by offering cooking and growing opportunities.  

“With help from everybody who lives in, works in or visits Brighton and Hove, our vision of a city with healthy, sustainable and fair food for all is achievable – and the gold award is in sight. Every action counts!”

Tom Andrews, Director of Sustainable Food Cities, said: “The concept of Sustainable Food Cities was in many ways inspired by and modelled on the ground-breaking work of the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. Nearly 10 years on and there are now 55 towns, cities, boroughs and counties following Brighton and Hove’s lead.

“The launch of these ambitious plans mark yet another fantastic milestone in their journey and, in the process, set the bar for just what is possible when creative and committed people collaborate to transform our food system.”

Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food 2008-2014 and co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, has also commended the city’s approach. In a foreword to the new Plan, he writes: “Cities like Brighton and Hove are showing that new farming practices, food distribution and retail networks, and ways of valuing food in the local economy are all possible […] This review of Brighton and Hove’s food strategy provides a timely opportunity to renew these commitments and to chart an ever more ambitious course towards the sustainable food systems of the future.”

The full version of the new Food Strategy Action Plan 2018-2023 – as well as a downloadable summary version – can be found at www.bhfood.org.uk/food-strategy