Beccy Whittle shares a few reflections on why a Sustainable Food Places Award is useful and questions: should our region go for Gold?

In 2023 North Lancashire received a Silver Sustainable Food Places (SFP) award – offering national recognition of our region’s joined-up collaborative approach in promoting and supporting access to healthy, sustainable, and local food.

You might be reading this and thinking “what’s the point of an award? They don’t actually change anything, do they?” I beg to differ.

Firstly, we have to think about an award’s impact on the people and organisations who have been creating change. Activism is hard work: whether you’re a policy maker, a business, or a community group, going against the grain to try and build a better, fairer food system in the midst of an economic system that mitigates against it is exhausting! There are many days when all you can see are the problems, the broken bits, the changes yet to happen. That’s why it is vital to look back from time to time and celebrate just how far you HAVE come and acknowledge the progress that has been made. It’s what gives you drive and energy to get up the next morning and do it all again. My hope is that the Silver Award can do this for all those building a better food system right here in our community.

Secondly, an award can impact those new to the conversation. Before Lancaster got the Bronze Award, FoodFutures was still doing great work, but it was harder to get external groups and organisations to notice them or take them seriously. But, when they won Bronze in 2019 and had the chance to go for Silver, organisations like Lancaster City Council started to understand what they were doing and get on board, all of which strengthened the wider movement for change.

While it’s early days yet, I’m curious to see what changes the Silver Award will unlock! The Sustainable Food Places Award panel has already encouraged North Lancashire to go for Gold. Should we?

On 17 April from 10:00 – 12:00 FoodFutures is hosting an open online partnership meeting to answer this question and share strategic priorities for the next couple of years. To join, see the event details HERE.

To share your thoughts on going for Gold (and to find out what’s involved), visit: foodfutures.org.uk/north_lancs_4_gold/

Depending on your answer, FoodFutures also welcomes pledges to support our region on this journey.

 

 

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