The County Durham Sustainable Local Food Strategy (SLFS) and Food Partnership were officially launched at Durham City Town Hall on 22nd May 2014. They are the culmination of a 2 ½ year project hosted by Durham Community Action, which has involved numerous contributions from interested individuals and organisations large and small. The event was chaired by Sue Shaw, then Chair of ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).
The Strategy supports “a move towards a more localised food system in County Durham that provides fresh, healthy, sustainable food for residents and visitors” (p2) – a healthier, fairer, greener food system. A Food Charter was launched in September last year, and can be signed here:- Food Charter.
The Strategy and Partnership were launched by Liz Charles, Project Co-ordinator, together with five partners who talked about different aspects of the work. Claire Gibbs talked about the new Growing Together project in Evenwood and Ramshaw, where schools, a housing association, churches and the local One Point Hub are working with other residents to grow food in a number of locations around the villages. The produce will be freely available to anyone, based on the model developed by Incredible Edible Todmorden.
Dr Mike Lavender, Public Health Consultant, give a fascinating presentation explaining the links between poor diet and poor health, and using CVD as an example.
Richard Hurst from OASES then showed a short film, “Growing Healthy” demonstrating the work being undertaken in some primary schools in the County, and delighted everyone with the children’s obvious enjoyment and engagement. Please click here to view the Growing Healthy Film.
John Turner, Executive Community Chef at Durham University and active member of the project steering group, talked with passion about some of the positive work that has been happening in the county through working together with local businesses, and other public sector procurers such as the County Council and the NHS.
Finally, Rupert Richardson from Dowfold House B&B shared his passion for using quality local food as an integral part of his business, and provided statistics on the importance of local food to the tourism industry.
This was followed by a screening of ‘Local Food Roots’, a film released in 2013 showing some of the successes over the past 20 years of a growing local food movement. Sheila Dillon (Radio 4 Food Programme) and Pam Warhurst (Incredible Edible Todmorden) provide the informative and sometimes challenging commentary. See http://localfoodfilm.org.uk/.
Finally, Clare Devereux from Food Matters and Sustainable Food Cities (SFC) gave a lively and enthusiastic explanation of how this work fits in with similar work going on at city and local level around the country. Food Durham was a founding member of the SFC network. There is a growing awareness that we cannot carry on with ‘business as usual’ regarding the production, distribution and consumption of food without serious health, social, environmental and economic consequences. Food Policy needs to be embedded within all policy areas at both national and local levels.
A magnificent local food buffet was provided by Durham University, including a first tasting of a potential ‘signature dish’ for County Durham – some beautifully flavoured pease pudding dips.
Please click here to view Clare Devereux’ Durham launch Presentation May 2014.
Please click here to view the Food Strategy Launch Presentations.
Photographs from the launch event:
Please see below some Feedback from Delegates:
“Excellent venue, a good range of informative speakers, a nice buffet of local food.”
“Excellent range of speakers from a range of sectors. Useful mix of information and case studies.”
“Interesting, varied presentations. Good lunch. Kept to time and well organised.”
“Stalls providing interesting information about partner activity, good number of people presenting – good variation, good food.”
“Very positive and welcoming atmosphere. Lots of information effectively presented. Wonderful lunch and yoghurt. Good venue. Interesting stalls. Excellent networking opportunities. Pease pudding humous. Opportunity to refresh and expand existing connections.”
“interesting to hear more from the Public Health Team and learnt more about the curent challenges around food related health issues.”