Below find the text of a motion to the next meeting of full Council (Weds 29th Jan, 10am) that just might scrape through.* It’s motherhood and apple-pie with the obligatory puff for “high tech”**. If the Council has the same promise-delivery ratio on food poverty as it has had on climate change since 2008, then all I can say is that those who are hungry are going to be getting hungrier…
Food is essential to life, has a major influence on health and well-being and is a key
public health priority for the city. Poor diet is a significant contributor to ill health and
the associated costs of this to the public purse are significant. Less than a quarter of
people in Manchester eat the recommended five fruit and vegetables a day; dietary
factors account for up to a third of deaths from coronary heart disease and a quarter
of cancer deaths.
Food is also important in our ability to participate in society and an inability to buy
and share food similar to our peers is socially isolating. There is gathering evidence
that food poverty, defined by the Department of Health as “the inability to afford or to
have access to, food to make up a healthy diet”, is increasing in the city; this is
damaging to the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Also the
impact of the food system on the environment is vast.
While taking action on food is imperative to address the issues above, it also
presents a positive opportunity to improve the economy and vitality of our city.
Procuring food sustainably creates a market for local food businesses thus creating
jobs, and there is opportunity to encourage and support investment in high-tech
sustainable commercial growing systems – creating jobs and increasing local food
There is already much good work going on in the city by the City Council and
partners. Manchester has been a pioneer of multi agency and community action on
food since 2004, when it became one of the first cities in England to establish a
comprehensive food strategy and partnership (Food Futures). However, it is clear
that we now need to do more to rise to the challenges above and to realise the full
economic and social benefits that food can bring to the city.
A new national initiative – Sustainable Food Cities – a coalition of NGOs led by the
Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain has been established to support Cities to
use food to support positive change through networking and support. Next year it is
expected that Cities will be invited to apply to become an accredited Sustainable
Food City. This initiative has prompted the establishment of a new Food Board to
champion and oversee this work in the city; this Board has identified four key priority
areas for action, reflected in the commitments below.
This council therefore:
Welcomes and supports the establishment of a new Food Board
Commits to working towards Sustainable Food City status
Commits to develop a policy on health and take-aways to support
improvements in the diets and health of our residents
Commits to working towards reducing food waste in the city
Commits to working to alleviate the scandal of food poverty in the city
Commits to supporting sustainable food procurement through its own
purchases and through its influence with other public sector organisations
Commits to investigate options for attracting investment in high-tech sustainable food
growing industry to create jobs and prosperity in the local economy.
(Signed by: Councillor Akbar (Proposer), Councillor Stogia (seconder), Councillors
Chappell, Lone, Flanagan and Ollerhead)
* Labour has 86 – soon to be 96 – of the 96 Council seats.
** Sustainability Fix
and Ecological Modernisation, anyone??
Fwiw, is it just me, or is there a complete lack of phrases like “Meat Free Monday”, “vegetarian,” “vegan”, “permaculture,” “cruelty-free” etc etc etc in here?