Food Economy Working Group

FoodFutures aims to support local residents in becoming food citizens; empowering people to shape both the local and global food system for the better through their actions and buying choices. Through these combined actions we can help increase fresh food access, create meaningful and secure food jobs, regenerate our environment, and support sustainable food producers around the world.

The Food Economy and Procurement working group exists to increase demand for sustainable food and increase the capacity for local, sustainable food production in the region. It facilitates strategy and projects that help to build a thriving local food economy.

This group currently meets every two months.

This group’s two year priorities:

Pathways for sustainable and regenerative food production locally
  • Coordinate and scale up the North Lancashire FarmStart Scheme (The Plot) to increase training and business opportunities for new entrant growers. This should include: increasing membership of the FoodFriends fundraising scheme; establishing other sustainable funding mechanisms; supporting trainees in establishing new businesses; and seeking out collaboration with local further education institutions to create supportive career pathways for students and trainees.
  • Seek funding to support farmers (and suppliers/producers) in transition, including a coordinator role to work with other local networks to support farmers in the transition to agroecology as recommended by the ‘Our Future in the Land’ report from the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission.
  • Run a pilot for the North Lancashire food hub and test this model in 2024 (including public procurement if possible) and create plans for reviewing and extending the work following the pilot. Purchase a ‘home’ for the food hub to operate from in 2024-5 and explore a wider local food distribution mechanism for future years
  • Continue to explore ways of getting input from local producers and retailers to the strategy and to act as a sounding board for emerging ideas (such as food hubs, new procurement approaches, grower co-ops) and a network for sharing knowledge, skills and training opportunities.
  • Secure multi-year funding to coordinate and deliver the Northern Real Farming Conference theory of change, which focuses around six themes, including procurement and processing/distribution in a Northern England context for agroecological produce.
Re-economy: growing our regenerative food economy
  • Support feasibility work and pilots of food economy infrastructure and pathways including: an online marketplace, distribution models including the food hub and closed-loop enterprise opportunities and local food directory/Don’t Ditch It Directory development.
  • Deliver a programme of funding (through the Closing Loops project) to support emerging REconomy ideas through community grant-giving and participatory budgeting events to support the growth of community and social enterprises across the district that protect and heal natural resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimise waste.
  • Develop and implement a monitoring and evaluation plan to assess the impact of the grant-giving and learn from feedback.
  • Complete an update on the Hope Spots mapping work for the FoodFutures network
  • Support good food businesses to transition and support a growing market for  production from surplus/agroecological food 
  • Celebrate North Lancs as a place of possibility through arts-based projects, events, stories and case studies that share learning and inspire a regenerative local economy.
Cultivating food citizenship and creating demand for local food
  • Continue to work with our local growers, food producers and chefs to form a network that co-creates the ‘Tastes of North Lancashire’ menu – one that is healthy for people and planet whilst supporting agroecological producers.
  • Promote a North Lancashire menu and recipes with local food businesses and caterers.
  • Update and share a Resilient Food Game and linked resources to use as a resource for conversations across our communities – from school students to grandparents – building on our Resilient Food Checklist
  • Seek funding for feasibility work and development of a Good Food Manifesto
Developing a cross-sector procurement forum
  • Seek funding for procurement coordination time to work with local cross-sector procurement colleagues
  • Work with the a local public procurers in the District to explore whether the role of the food hub could be useful in aggregating produce from a range of producers and/or procuring more agroecological locally produced food
  • Work with the Morecambe Bay Anchor Procurement group to develop a strategic action plan and approach for increasing local agroecologically produced food
  • Be part of the Northern Real Farming Conference procurement group, linking approaches across the North of England and learning/sharing about local procurement approaches
Ongoing activities
  • Develop case studies that highlight good practice around regenerative food production, enterprises and economies – feeding into FoodFutures magazine, food columns, blogs, videos and an annual campaign
  • Support the development of the Northern Real Farming Conference (including confirming a new name), which focuses around six key strategic themes for shifting Northern food systems, working with farmers, growers, food producers, food activists and others working to put regeneration, fairness, people and nature at the heart of our food system.
radishes in a hand

How to get involved

  • If you are interested in supporting the work of the food economy and procurement working group, contact Ellen Pearce: ellen@lessuk.org You can find dates of upcoming meetings, learn about our future plans and read past minutes here.
  • Become a FoodFriend and support the development of sustainable food work in Lancaster District.
  • Buy from the local food businesses listed on our Local Food Directory.
  • Start your own sustainable food business! We would love to hear about your ideas and support you where we can. We can also list new businesses on the local food directory and promote your work in our weekly food column and via our networks.
  • There are LOADS of food events going on in the District all the time, so check out our calendar to see what’s on over the coming weeks.

Food Economy Resources

Use our Local Food Directory.

Check out our Seasonal Food calendar

Check out this UK-based guide to buying local and seasonal food

Aims to identify and establish practical initiatives that increase the accessibility of local produce in the District

Read

Sign up as a customer or a retailer

www.independent-lancaster.co.uk

Ethical Consumer magazine

www.ethicalconsumer.org

Learn how to to set one up with friends and neighbours (PDF)

The Landworkers Alliance

A union of farmers, growers, foresters and land-based workers aiming to create a better food and land-use system for everyone.

Join as a member or supporter

Case Studies

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