Community food enterprises can play a role in helping to tackle the challenge of climate change through empowering local people and communities to take action. This is the main message from a new report launched this week [Wednesday 5th May] at a major national conference in Manchester.
The report ‘Local food and climate change – the role of community food enterprises’ identified the potential for communities on a local level across England to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in every part of the food chain, including transport.
Peter Couchman, Director of Making Local Food Work and Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation commenting at the launch said, “Community food enterprises help people to take ownership of their food and where it comes from. This feeling of ownership has helped many to take on the challenge of climate change through a variety of community-led initiatives and enterprises. This report is designed to challenge us all to realise that there is no one simple solution to climate change, but there are steps that, by supporting and being engaged with community food enterprises, we can all take.”
Vicki Hird, Independent Food and Environment Consultant and co-author of the report, said, “Instead of asking whether local food is good or bad for the climate in general, policy makers should focus on supporting community food enterprises in addressing the distinctive challenges and opportunities they present in contributing to a low-carbon food system.”
The report was launched at the Making Local Food Work for People and Planet Conference. Making Local Food Work is a 5 year programme which aims to help communities across England to take control of their food and where it comes from by supporting a range of community food enterprises. These include farmers’ markets, community-owned shops, community supported agriculture, food co-ops, Country Markets and much more. Making Local Food Work is funded by the Big Lottery Fund through its Changing Spaces programme and has supported over 500 community food enterprises since being launched in 2007.
Making Local Food Work (www.makinglocalfoodwork.co.uk) is a five-year £10m programme funded through the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund. It helps people to take ownership of their food and where it comes from by supporting a range of community food enterprises across England. Community food enterprises are businesses run by communities for their benefit, which are involved in at least one part of growing, harvesting, processing, distributing, selling or serving local food. Examples include farmers’ marketing, community-owned shops, community supported agriculture, country markets, food co-operatives and many others. Making Local Food work pools the expertise of seven partner organisations including Co-operativesUK, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Country Markets Ltd, FARMA, the Plunkett Foundation, Soil Association, and Sustain to help communities gain access to good, fresh, local produce, with clear origins.
The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme was launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments. The programme is funding a range of activities from local food schemes and farmers markets, to education projects teaching people about the environment.
The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
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