Creating a bold, sustainable and healthy food system
Plans to create a bold, sustainable, healthy and thriving food system are to be consulted on if approved by the city council’s cabinet.
The Birmingham Food System Strategy is the city’s ambitious eight-year approach to creating a food system and economy where food choices are affordable, nutritious and desirable for all citizens.
It is the outcome of three years of collaboration with partners and citizens with the key aim of creating a strategy that enables radical change locally that can shape a food system for all.
It is therefore vital that the strategy is owned by the city as a whole and driven by every citizen, organisation and business in Birmingham, collectively levering change, innovation and development to create a future food system that every citizen is proud to be part of.
Cllr Paulette Hamilton, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “Too many citizens face challenges accessing affordable, healthy and sustainable food which has a detrimental effect on physical and mental health.
“The food economy should be vibrant, reflecting the diversity of our communities and be sustainable, meaning reducing waste, increasing valuable employment opportunities for local people, minimising environmental harm and maximising local assets.
“This is a fantastic long-term strategy that really shows how we are leading the way, following on from the launch of the government’s national food conversation in the city a few years ago. We have worked really closely with so many partners on this, taking best practice nationally and internationally, such as the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.
“This is very much being done in collaboration and we have already been working with citizens from all stages of life, all backgrounds, with different interests in food. I would encourage citizens from across communities to take part in the consultation.”
The draft strategy looks at nine key areas:
- Food Production – Empower citizens and local producers to grow and preserve food and connect to the city’s food system.
- Food Sourcing – Increase sourcing of local, environmentally sustainable, ethical and nutritious foods across the food system.
- Food Transformation – Transform diets to contain more diverse and nutritious ingredients and less fat, salt and sugar.
- Food Waste and Recycling – Maximise the repurposing and distribution of surplus food and minimise waste and unsustainable packaging.
- Food Economy and Employment – Create a thriving local food economy for all and maximise training and employment opportunities.
- Food Skills and Knowledge – Empower citizens with knowledge and skills in relation to the food system from farm to fork.
- Food Behaviour Change – Ensure the capability, opportunity and motivation for key behaviours that will enable long term change.
- Food Security and Resilience – Ensure citizens in every community, at every age, have access to sufficient affordable, nutritious and safe food.
- Food Innovation, Partnerships and Research – Gather insights and facilitate innovation, collaboration, learning and research across the food system.
The draft strategy will go to cabinet committee on 22 March with a recommendation that consultation starts on 11 April for 18 weeks.