Mayoral Candidates Receive Sustainable Food Strategy

Sustainable Food Strategy Event, December 2016

Our latest FeedingManchester event brought together over 100 groups from the sector to shape a new sustainable food strategy for Greater Manchester.

With the mayoral election fast approaching, we've sent the draft strategy to the candidates, asking them to respond to five priorities identified, which we believe will go along way to making Manchester a Sustainable Food City.

  1. Increase the availability of healthy food across Greater Manchester:

The successful mayoral candidate could promote this by:

  • Creating a multi-sector working group that can encourage and support the purchase of sustainable food in the public sector, particularly in the health service;

  • Increasing the autonomy of hospitals and health service providers over their own procurement contracts to allow for locally grown healthy meals;

  • Mandating that all local authorities adopt a Sustainable Food Policy and develop a Sustainable Food Action Plan for their borough;

  • Restricting the expansion of fast food outlets around schools, colleges, hospitals and parks; building on the work of Salford City Council.

2. Promote public awareness of food sustainability:

By committing to signing the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP), Manchester would become the first Northern UK city to pledge to ‘develop sustainable food systems that are inclusive, resilient, safe and diverse, that provide healthy and affordable food to all people’. The elected mayor of Manchester could commit to this and make Manchester one of 138 cities globally that have taken steps to realise food sustainability.

3. Facilitate access to land for people wanting to grow food:

The new mayor of Greater Manchester could increase access to quality growing spaces by:

  • Create more growing space and community allotments when considering spatial planning and town development;

  • All new homes in Manchester should be build with gardens or common growing spaces.

4. Reduce packaging waste and food waste in food procurement

As mayor, the elected candidate will be responsible for the administration of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, giving her or him significant influence in tackling food and packaging waste across the borough. Key policies that could be implemented in this position:

  • Implement commercial recycling and composting services across Greater Manchester

  • Inform suppliers of best practice waste management and packaging standards

  • Local Authority in partnership with the Sustainable Food Sector to increase knowledge on food storage through improved labelling and campaigns

  • Mandate that food businesses offer doggy bags and encourage smaller portion sizes

  • Encourage widespread knowledge of food waste hierarchy

  • Endorse food waste partnerships between commercial food businesses and redistribution organisations such as Fareshare and Real Junk Food Project.

5. Reduce the carbon footprint of the food sector

The role of mayor also has significant mandate over the Greater Manchester Transport remit and budget. Consequently, there is an opportunity to promote a carbon-neutral future for the transport sector and to minimise the carbon footprint of the food transportation industry in Greater Manchester. Actions needed to minimise the carbon emissions of the food sector include:

  • Promote seasonal and local diets across Greater Manchester;

  • GMCA to implement policies that promote seasonal menus/diets;

  • Invest in infrastructure enabling sustainable food transportation;

  • Engage Transport for Greater Manchester to reduce the impact of 'food miles';

  • Encourage businesses to reduce their ecological footprint i.e. using a rating system like food hygiene certificates.

The mayoral election is a pivotal opportunity to address some of the pressing issues concerning the Greater Manchester food sector. The draft strategy has been sent to all mayoral candidates, in the hope that they may use it to inform their electoral manifestos and potential policies.

DevoManc is a real opportunity for change, so if you agree with our key principles and want to see Manchester become a sustainable food city please spread the word, and contact mayoral candidates to ask them to promote sustainable food as a key electoral agenda.

Andy Burnham MP (Labour)

Cllr Sean Anstee (Conservative)

Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrat)

Will Patterson (Green)

We are finalising the last few details of the sustainable food strategy and will be publicising it shortly, so please keep an eye on out on our website.