Over 30 groups from across Greater Manchester came together at Bridge 5 Mill on the 3rd December to develop and update a strategy for sustainable food. The day brought together ideas from across the region that fed into the existing ‘Greater Manchester Food Strategy’, formed in 2013 by more than 100 groups. This food strategy covers issues and themes from: food poverty and malnutrition to sustainable supply chains and how to address food waste, taking positive steps to forge an agenda for sustainable food.
We were invited to lead on the food element of the People’s Plan; an independent public engagement programme run by and for citizens and civil society of Greater Manchester. This ‘new’ and updated strategy has drawn on the expertise of the sustainable food sector across Greater Manchester, and will be used as a platform for the food section of the People's Plan that will influence devolution and ultimately food in the region.
There was a real sense of enthusiasm from the groups that took part to seize this opportunity to influence the People's Plan, with one participant saying ‘it was a fantastic way to share ideas and find common ground with people from across the food sector’.
Through collaboration and discussion key areas were identified as lacking in the existing strategy, such as a need to recognise BREXIT and the forthcoming sugar tax as well as emphasising the role of the commercial and business sector in fostering best practice with regards to sustainability and food.
Similarly, some priorities within the strategy changed in line with the objectives of the Sustainable Food Cities, recognising ‘Catering and Procurement’ as a key area of concern for sustainability as well as the need to address the ‘Ecological Footprint of the Food Supply Chain’.
The input and ideas that came out of the event endorsed positive action for sustainable food in Greater Manchester, and will go along way to promoting sustainable food issues on the mainstage via the People's Plan. The willingness of all those involved to collaborate and work in harmony to create current and meaningful objectives for the ‘Greater Manchester Food Strategy’ is reflective of the drive to change our food system for the better.
We are in the processes of bringing all of the great ideas raised at the event together into a new strategy and we will keep you all informed as to how that is going. While we are doing this we are still really interested in having input from groups/projects working in sustainable food in the Greater Manchester area so if you know of organisations or projects that you think we should talk to please get in touch.
Or if you are an interested then please help us influence DevoManc by completing this survey, which will enable to us to get a better idea of the size and weight of the sustainable food sector which will only strengthen our position to advocate for sustainable change.