So, if you’re interested in how Manchester could feed itself (and if you’re not, you should be…), then THIS is something you should get along to. And if you book before Sunday 16th June, it’s a tenner…
Creating a Sustainable Food City
13th July, 2013
The third sector, co-operatives and independent businesses, food activists and social entrepreneurs are leading the way to create a truly sustainable food system for our city and region. By utilising the vast wealth and range of experience and expertise of these pioneers, FeedingManchester #13 will be looking at how we can create a Sustainable Food City.
This day-long event of discussions, workshops and presentations will culminate in a practical report, offering guidance and inspiration, as well as a practical plan of action for Greater Manchester’s Sustainable Food Sector.
In the summer of 2010 we collectively developed a response to Manchester’s climate change strategy called ‘Visioning Manchester’s Sustainable Food Sector in 2020’. Twenty inspiring food advocates: from businesses like Unicorn Grocery to Glebelands City Growers to charitable organisations like Hulme Community Garden Centre came together to vision a healthy, fair & sustainable food system for our city.
Three years on, we want to look both at the progress being made, but also to create a meaningful and detailed action plan for the whole of Greater Manchester.
Greater Manchester leads the country on progressive food practices in many ways – in Bolton urban food growing is addressing food poverty head on, while Incredible Edible Prestwich are taking on an increasing amount of land and Greater Manchester has established the UK’s first FarmStart initiative.
The University of Manchester is leading the way on sustainable food procurement and Unicorn Grocery has developed into a multi-award winning wholefood shop that turns over £5 million a year. Also, Manchester Abundance has won The Observer’s Ethical Award 2010 for Grassroots Project and in 2012 two Manchester organisations (Manchester Veg People & The Kindling Trust) were shortlisted for the Radio 4’s Food & Farming Awards.
Additionally, new projects like Real Food Wythenshawe, Salford’s Biospheric Foundation and the Feeding the 5000 event taking place this June are sure to raise the profile of urban food over the coming years.
Despite all the great work being done, there are too many other areas where Greater Manchester lags well behind comparable cities like Liverpool or Middlesborough.
Our sector faces huge challenges, and not just from the unpredictable weather, political apathy, funding cuts and increasing demands on our services which place the sector under great strain.
Supermarkets remain a cornerstone of development plans across Greater Manchester, our regional fruit & veg wholesale market’s redevelopment is on hold, more agricultural land is to be lost to HS2 and Airport expansion and food banks continue to struggle to meet the demand for free food.
Across Greater Manchester itself there exists great disparity. In Oldham, the school’s entire catering team have Food for Life Silver award covering 97 primary and special schools, in Manchester there is just one primary school enrolled in this scheme. In Salford and Bury, Incredible Edible community groups are thriving, while access to land in Manchester is being temporarily addressed through “Meanwhile: sites. In South Manchester, the independant food and retail sector is thriving, while in other parts of the city high streets are struggling, and lacking variety and independent producers.
The recently created Sustainable Food Cities initiative offers a huge opportunity for us to come together under the five themes of:
- Health and wellbeing for all
- Environmental sustainability
- Local economic prosperity
- Resilient communities
- Fairness in the food chain
For more information about Sustainable Food Cities please click here.