Gold for Brighton and Hove in Sustainable Food Awards

Brighton and Hove has become the first in the UK to win a Gold Sustainable Food Place Award.

Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 12:11 pm

The award recognises the city’s outstanding achievements on a range of key food issues and most recently on tackling food poverty during the Covid-19 pandemic.

When Covid-19 hit earlier this year, the Food Partnership launched the ‘Hungry at Home’ fundraising appeal and the city’s Emergency Food Network became the vehicle for an astonishing citywide emergency food response to the pandemic lockdown.

As well as signposting thousands of people in need, a central food-processing hub was established, where wholesale and surplus food was organised and distributed to food banks and meal projects across the city by a team of volunteers. Working together the city’s businesses, residents, local authority, community food and mutual aid groups stepped up to help people in need.

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Director of Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, Vic Borrill said: “We are thrilled with this award. Food has never been so important. It is a lens for understanding some of society’s most complex problems.

“It has the power to bring people together and changes lives. When people ask what is special about food in Brighton & Hove it is not one single thing, it is an attitude that states we will work to improve all parts of the food system from farm to plate. It is the dozens of organisations, hundreds of groups and thousands of people from every walk of life that are transforming the city through food – showing that every action counts and change is possible.

“It is the Food Partnership approach of bringing together businesses, community and voluntary groups, local authority departments and individuals across the city to work in partnership because together we can solve complex problems. Our collaborative approach means that Brighton and Hove is one of the few areas of the UK bucking the trend on childhood obesity, has breastfeeding rates 25% above the national average and has tripled the number of community gardens.”

The award tops a number of food firsts for the city; Brighton & Hove was the first to achieve Silver in the Sustainable Food Cities Awards in 2015. Brighton & Hove Food partnership, founded in 2003, brought together almost 100 organisational partners to deliver a 5-year food action plan, said to be the most ambitious in the UK.

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Tom Andrews, of Sustainable Food Places said: “It’s amazing to present this award to Brighton and Hove, recognising the extraordinary innovation and effort to change attitudes and perceptions about food and create a more sustainable food system.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown just how important it is that people have healthy diets and can access affordable, healthy and sustainable food no matter who they are or where they live. But the pandemic has also shown just how resilient communities can be when they work together to help those most in need, and nowhere more so than Brighton and Hove.”

The Food Partnership confirms that the city’s food work will not end with the Gold Award. The bid for gold highlights the food system’s contribution to climate change and what the city can do next to reduce this impact at a local level.

To see the bid and find out more visit Brighton & Hove Food Partnership’s website www.bhfood.org.uk.