Acorn Food Network
DCSDC’s Sustainable Food Network
The Acorn Food Network is a city and district wide partnership of individuals and organisations, and is connected to a wider good food movement across the district. It aims at connecting the people and projects working to promote healthy, environmentally sustainable and ethical food across the district; it hopes to create voice for wider change around our local system.
The Acorn Food Network believes that the food we eat has a huge impact on life in Derry City & Strabane - not just on people’s health, but on communities and businesses, farmers and food producers, and the environment too. Good food has the potential to create strong, healthy, resilient communities. The Acorn Food Network was established in 2021 and became a member of Sustainable Food Places in early 2022. The network continues to grow and it’s influence is already being seen across the city and district.
WHAT IS IT?
The Acorn Food Network is a partnership of stakeholders from across our local system which aims to inspire and motivate everyone across Derry City & Strabane to work together in developing new approaches to food, making positive choices that are healthier and tastier and which bring social, economic and environmental benefits to the whole community.
In 2019, Derry City & Strabane District Council published it’s ‘Green Infrastructure Plan’ which identified sustainable food within it’s strategic priorities. Furthermore, the recognition of the role food can plan in climate adaptation and mitigation lead to the inclusion of sustainable food in emerging climate policies. In 2021, the Acorn Farm- I Can Grow Project was launched, which saw 200+ individuals/ families been given the equipment and support needed to grow food at home. This project showed the potential to create a cultural shift in how local people take climate action through their relationship through food. The desire to create systematic change through the food system became apparent, leading to the community vision of creating an iconic urban farm in the city- Acorn Farm. To build on this momentum, Derry City & Strabane applied to become a part of the Sustainable Food Places network leading the growth of the Acorn Food Network.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
The Acorn Food Network involves of approx. 15 representatives from the public, private and third sectors and is connected to a wider good food movement across the whole city and district.
What is a Sustainable Food Place?
A Sustainable Food Place is a city or region that is working towards creating more sustainable food systems and practises. Throughout the UK there are 50+ Sustainable Food Places, making healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where people live.
The Sustainable Food Places Network brings together local food partnerships from across the UK.
In towns, cities, boroughs, districts and counties, these partnerships are driving innovation and best practice on all aspects of healthy and sustainable food.
Sustainable Food Places provide grants, advice and support to enable local food partnerships to drive changes to local policy and practice and to undertake campaigns, practical projects and public engagement initiatives.
Growing Food, Growing Community
Growing Food Growing Community is a shared project with Holywood Transistion Towns and supported by The Community Foundation NI. This project provided an opportunity to ask local people what good food means to them. The process cumulated in a Food Summit, that we hosted in the Guildhall on the 3rd March- you can download the evaluation of this event here.
Through this process we have created a Good Food Charter (below) for the city and district.
The Good Food Charter sets out a vision for a vibrant, healthy and sustainable food system for Derry City and Strabane. It is a platform for future projects, a catalyst for engagement with businesses and the community, and a guide for action.