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Council takes next step in sustainable food journey

12 March 2021
Council's Environment and Regeneration Committee have praised ongoing work by Council to create a new local food agenda promoting food nutrition and sustainable practices.
Members received an update this week on Council's application to the Sustainable Food Places (SFP) network to become a Sustainable Food Place creating a transition to a healthy, sustainable, and more equitable food system. The network helps cities to establish multi-sector food partnerships, develop local food strategies, and implement positive action across a wide range of food issues. This is achieved through shared learning and skill sharing and by supporting members as they seek to strengthen their food partnerships with guidance, advice and small grants.
Members heard more about the work already underway to progress Derry and Strabane's ambition to promote more sustainable and responsible approaches to food production and consumption. A number of initiatives have been bringing local partners together with a shared food agenda, including the The Legenderry Food Network and the launch of the Local Food & Drink Strategy 2019-2025, building the City and District's profile as a leading food destination.
Council is also working with the Acorn Farm Food Partnership, a collaboration between Community Foundation (NI), Council, The Conservation Volunteers and University College Cork. This partnership aims to 'create a sustainable urban food system which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and is resilient to the effects of climate change'.
As member of the Food Access Partnership, in recent months Council has established as a direct response to the Covid19 food crisis. The partnership aims to develop short, medium and long term food poverty and embed this working into Council's Strategic and Local Community Plans. The partnership comprises of Council, Local Growth Partnerships, Foyle Food Bank, Fare Share, APEX Social Supermarket, Churches Voluntary Trust and Strabane Community projects.
At the meeting, Council's Director of Environment and Regeneration, Karen Phillips, flagged plans to bring the three partnerships together as one forum namely, the Northwest Food Partnership, to work together to create a new sustainable food system for the region. This project is strategically aligned to the Acorn Farm successful bid to the UK Climate Action Fund to create a 'new food movement' in the Northwest.
Members endorsed the recommendation to match fund the £5,000 available through Council's successful application for a Sustainable Food Programme Development Grant, with £5,000 from existing Council budgets.
Chair of the Environment and Regeneration Committee, Maurice Devenney, welcomed the news saying. "I am delighted to see Council reach the next stage in its sustainable food journey. We are becoming more aware of the impact of our carbon footprint particularly when it comes to food production. This programme will allow us to explore further opportunities to use our own resources to promote sustainable local food sources that are both more cost effective and more environmentally friendly."