Back when I worked at Sustain, I remember watching the set-up of the Sustainable Food Cities (GFO) network with interest, interested to see if the concept could really strengthen the food system in the UK by supporting local cross-sector alliances to make an impact with a focus on 6 key issues.
With more than 50 towns and cities now signed up, it seems that the SFC network is having a real and lasting impact.
I’m pleased to now be actively involved in the growth of the network, recently taking on the roles of network & projects coordinator at Good Food Oxford (GFO), and SFC Coordinator for the Lambeth Food Partnership.
One of the key pieces of work I’m coordinating at GFO is the development of a Food Access Alliance, working with people in the community, as well as service providers, to develop an action plan to increase access to good food for people on low incomes in Oxfordshire. This is complemented by a Maximising Family Income project, that will include encouraging further take up of the Oxford Living Wage and promotion of Healthy Start Vouchers; a direct recognition that the root of food poverty is inadequate incomes, a message we constantly remind people of at the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN). Both of these projects are funded by Food Power.
Here's a blog I wrote for GFO, to introduce myself to the network.
In Lambeth, I will be coordinating the development of an action plan to enable the borough to progress from a SFC bronze award to a silver award. Lambeth happens to be one of the boroughs where we operated Food Up Front back in 2007/08 so it’s great to be working there again.
Elsewhere, I am continuing to Chair the Winchester Food Partnership, a SFC inspired partnership in Winchester (where I live) that I started last year with support from a number of organisations, including the university and WinACC. We aim to secure SFC status by the end of 2018.
I am also mentoring a number of people in Hampshire who are starting social enterprises, as part of the Inspiring Enterprise programme. This work also includes facilitating workshops on various aspects of developing social enterprises, including soft skills such as building resilience, as well as business planning and fundraising.
Meanwhile, IFAN’s impact continues to build and, although I’ve taken a step back from day-to-day operations, I am staying involved by developing relationships with relevant overseas organisations to learn from their practices and vice-versa.
Finally, I recently decided to turn down an invite to give a TED talk, in an effort to maintain my resilience in the face of a heavy workload. However, I’m always happy to receive speaking invites. Just get in touch.