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North Lancashire wins Sustainable Food award




North Lancashire has won a prestigious Sustainable Food Places (SFP) Silver award; recognising the outstanding efforts of individuals, organisations, businesses and community groups from across our region.


Rather than second best, the Silver SFP Award is something that is aspired to and worked towards in collaboration with many people and organisations from across a region.


Run by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain, the Award scheme (and wider support network) was started to encourage place-based collaborative approaches to tackling some of the big challenges linked to our food system: from food poverty and diet-related ill-health to the disappearance of family farms and the loss of independent food retailers.


It has taken North Lancashire four action-packed years to achieve Silver after having received a Bronze Award in 2019, and the region’s detailed application highlights the amazing progress and work that has made this possible.


From the Our Food Futures community food strategy for North Lancashire and the themed working groups that are taking forward the work to bring this about; through to a huge arrange of community-led growing, cooking and sharing projects that have sprouted across the District.


North Lancashire’s Silver Application provides evidence of progress made across six different areas of the food system: from action on food waste and food poverty through to up-scaling sustainable local food production and the introduction of procurement policies that support healthy, fair and local food.


The SFP Award Panel were particularly impressed by the wide range of stakeholders involved in North Lancashire’s sustainable food partnership and wider support network, and they praised the work of the Plot’s FarmStart programme, Lancaster District Food Justice Partnership and the Closing Loops project.


Anna Clayton, FoodFutures coordinator, said: "Thanks to the many individuals, organisations, businesses and community groups from across our region, North Lancashire has won this Silver Sustainable Food Places Award. Well done to each and every one of you! Collaborative working underlies this success, which isn’t always easy. The visions shared by the 200 + people during the 2020 strategy co-development process keeps me motivated to continue this work in the face of the many challenges facing our local food system. I really look forward to seeing what comes next and to celebrating this Award in the Spring."


Jamie Murphy, FoodFutures Partnership Chair and a Community Connector at Lancaster City Council said: "Receiving the Silver Sustainable Food Places award is a fantastic achievement for our district. It is a testament to the broad range of diverse and creative projects and initiatives developed by the Food Futures Partnership and wider community. Congratulations and thanks go out to the fantastic, committed, and inspired individuals, groups and organisations who have dedicated time and effort to improving our local food system for all. The strength of our Food Community across the district is essential in making this happen and I’m looking forward to achieving Gold in the near future."


Leon Ballin, Sustainable Food Places Programme Manager, said: “North Lancashire 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, North Lancashire’s FoodFutures Partnership 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 Lancashire’s food culture and food system for the better.”


Celebrating Silver & springing forward


To celebrate North Lancashire’s Silver Award, FoodFutures is hosting A Pots of Possibility Networking event and a Silver Award Celebration on 20 April 2024.


This will be followed by a series of Spring Into Action events from the 21 – 28 April. From networking sessions, skill shares and community conversations, through to mushroom growing, fermenting workshops, a food champion induction, no-dig allotment growing, farm tours, a composting gathering, and spring forage walk…


For more information and to join the festivities, visit: foodfutures.org.uk/spring-into-action-2


Should North Lancashire go for Gold?


North Lancashire’s work was thought to meet and go beyond the SFP Silver criteria, with the FoodFutures partnership and North Lancashire region more generally being encouraged to aim for Gold in the near future.


“Given the geographical and political (district) constraints this is a model food partnership in structure, delivery and resilience” concluded the SFP Awards Team.


As there is momentum and so much good food work going on, FoodFutures is asking: should North Lancashire go for Gold? To gather thoughts on this question, FoodFutures has pulled together a video that introduces what going for Gold will entail, and have set up a ‘Should we go for Gold?’ poll’: www.surveymonkey.com/r/North_Lancs_Gold_poll


Results from the poll will be shared at the 17 April online FoodFutures partnership meeting.


More about the Sustainable Food Places Award programme


The Sustainable Food Places (SFP) Award is 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 your area.


An 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 your 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.


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