What we are and what we do

Why Food Durham and Why Food Matters

FISCH group at work in the Willington community garden.

Food really matters. How you eat, how you shop, crucially affects how the world is.” Sheila Dillon, Radio 4’s The Food Programme.

The thought that your food choices and those of others radically affects ‘how the world is’ is probably not at the forefront of your mind as you rush around the supermarket in a busy day. Faced with almost overwhelming choice in each aisle you may just go for the familiar, or the cheapest, or grapple with confusing labelling to find out what is the ‘healthier’ option, or which produce has high animal welfare standards, or lower carbon footprint etc.

Your food choices matter because the way food is produced, processed, packaged, and distributed affects our environment (soils, biodiversity, water quality), landscape, greenhouse gas emissions, animal health and welfare, farm workers’ welfare, and of course our own health and wellbeing.

This is why Food Durham, and the many other food partnerships around the UK (and the world), exist. We want to raise awareness of the importance of food and how it relates to the economy, the environment, health and well-being, and issues of social justice. And we want to work together to bring about change; our vision is for a food system that is Healthier, Green and Fairer and where every household has access to ‘good food’ – food that is safe, nutritious, of good quality and environmentally sustainable.

Food Durham is a member of the Sustainable Food Cities Network.

A Brief History of Food Durham

The launch of the County Durham Food Charter

2011 – 2014 : Phase 1

Where we had conversations with a diverse range of local residents and organisations, through workshops, one to one meetings, and small group meetings. The result was the County Durham Food Charter in 2013, and the Sustainable Local Food Strategy and the County Durham Food partnership (Food Durham) launched in 2014.

2014 – 2017 : Phase 2

Developed two main strands of work from the Strategy:

We also ran a Sustainable Fish City Campaign in Durham City and were awarded 5-Star Fish City status in 2016.

Other work included:

  • a collaborative Public Sector Procurement Group that shares information and expertise to assist more sustainable food procurement. Annual half-day conferences have been held since 2016
  • hosting the annual Big Dig for community gardens
  • running the #Pumpkin Challenge
  • Waste Less, Save More project
  • Launched Sugar Smart Durham campaign

Food Durham Structure

Food Durham is the County Durham Food Partnership hosted by Durham Community Action.

Food Durham is a network open to any interested organisations or individuals in County Durham, or further afield where appropriate. There is an advisory Partnership Board with representatives from the Public, Private and Third Sectors, three sub-groups (Public Sector Food Procurement, Food and Health, Community Growing), and a general membership open to anyone who joins our mailing list. The Partnership Advisory Board have agreed Terms of Reference.