New partnership focuses on food security in Lewes District
An initiative commissioned by East Sussex County Council to improve food security across Lewes District is just getting off the ground. You’re warmly invited to see how you can get involved, says project partnership coordinator Matilda Sjoberg.
The overall aim of the work, which has been commissioned by East Sussex County Council (Public Health) and is being hosted by the Sussex Community Development Association, is to set up a cross-sector food partnership that will work together to improve local food security.
What is food security?
Food security means that all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. A bit of a mouthful!
Identifying issues in Lewes District
An initial kick-off meeting at the end of January saw a diverse range of stakeholders respond to the question of how food secure they believed Lewes District to currently be. The 26 participants, who included representatives from education, health and emergency food provision, as well as local councillors and various organisations dedicated to serving their local communities, gave the district an average score of 6 out of 10.
Issues of chief concern, supported by two months of preliminary consultation work, included both the financial and geographical barriers to accessing healthy – and particularly local – food. This was seen to limit the food choices for many people living across the five towns and multiple rural villages within the district. In addition, the pressing need for greater awareness of what constitutes, and how to procure, a healthy and sustainable diet was raised extensively.
But the good news is that the appetite for change through collaboration and partnership is clear. We all have to eat – the wonderful thing about food is that it connects us all!
Mapping our local food assets
It’s also important to say that we’re not starting from scratch. Many seeds have been sown and, as seen in the colourful visual below, the glass is already half full. This food asset map was produced following a speedy exercise at 3VA’s Lewes District Community network meeting in February. As this exciting work evolves, the map will continue to blossom and grow, helping us to celebrate existing initiatives and hopefully inspire new ways of working.
Whilst much work is already being done to tackle food insecurity across the district, the road to a more sustainable food system – for both people and planet – involves breaking silos and coming together with a shared agenda. Successful food partnerships across the country have demonstrated the value of networking, idea sharing and working together in order to bring about systemic change to ultimately create a healthy, resilient and equitable food system for all.
So, let’s talk about food!
Ten years from now…imagine a food secure Lewes District: what ONE thing would you like to see? Get in touch to feed your perspective into the district’s food strategy. In particular we’d love to hear from you if you’re passionate about:
- alleviating hunger locally
- increasing the provision of nutritional food
- reducing food waste
- growing food
- supporting local food suppliers
- building food skills and awareness.
Get in contact and see how you might get involved in the partnership. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect on Twitter @FoodLewes or Facebook @FoodLewes.