Sustainable food is order of the day

Press Release: 20/10/2016

Fruit and vegetables

During a specially convened meeting at the Vineyard Church last week, delegates with an interest in ‘sustainable’ food warmly encouraged Winchester City Council to play a more active role in this area.

The ‘stakeholder meeting’ was called in response to a Notice of Motion to Council earlier this year by former councillor Janet Berry, following which the Council’s Cabinet asked officers to explore ways in which it could usefully get involved.

Around 30 representatives of local organisations and charities heard presentations from the Sustainable Food Cities Network and from Bath & North East Somerset Council. The speakers demonstrated a range of ways for communities to ensure that the food they buy and eat is ethically sourced, fairly distributed and produced in a way that is sympathetic to the environment.

Chaired by ‘Urban Food Guru’ Seb Mayfield, the meeting considered in a very open and collaborative way the potential for good, well-produced food to improve health, reduce the carbon footprint, and create economic opportunity for the Winchester District.

Delegates – ranging from Hampshire Farmers’ Markets and Sparsholt College to The Carroll Centre in Stanmore – proposed a series of actions which could be drawn together in the form of a year-long campaign by the City Council as a first ‘toe in the water’.

The Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Jane Rutter, who opened the meeting, stated:

Food is a subject very close to the hearts of most of us. We’ve seen interest grow in every aspect of food, from production to cooking, and from eating habits to diets. Television, radio and newspapers are packed with food programmes. Winchester and the surrounding District are increasingly known as a foodie heaven – but there’s a lot more to sustainable food than simply enjoying the experience of buying and eating it.

One of the main concerns of the delegates was about reducing food waste, which has the additional benefit that households and businesses can spend less on food. Other projects suggested included a training programme for young chefs and supporting households to grow food.

Seb Mayfield is currently drawing together a potential outline for a campaign year for the Council to consider. Anyone who missed the meeting and is interested in this area of work should contact Assistant Director (Economy & Communities) Eloise Appleby on 01962 848 181 or email eappleby@winchester.gov.uk