Cambridge Sustainable Food offers an exciting opportunity to bring together the many sustainable food initiatives in the public, private, university, community and business sectors. By building on the City’s reputation for innovation and excellence, the project aims to establish Cambridge as a leading Sustainable Food City. Our Food Charter will promote sustainable supply chains and access to healthy and environmentally sustainable food for all. We consider that Cambridge’s unique situation and resources provide us with the opportunity to bring about positive change beyond our geographical scope.
Cambridge has a wide range of sustainable food initiatives.
Transition Cambridge Food Group supports a number of exciting community initiatives, including:
Food for a Greener Future campaign
Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Transition Cambridge are currently running a campaign between November 2013 and March 2014 to raise awareness about sustainable food and encourage city residents to eat more sustainably. This series of events culminated in our Food for a Greener Future conference on February 8th 2014.
As well as food-related events and cookery demonstrations, Cambridge Carbon Footprint runs regular sustainable food challenges which anybody can join, for example the World War II Rationing Challenge during June 2015. Participants can blog about their experiences on the sustainable food blog or on Facebook. More than 700 people have signed up for this challenge, which has really caught the imagination of local media, too – it is being followed by the BBC Radio Cambs team and had a full-page spread in the Cambridge News.
Eat Cambridge is a large annual weeklong festival celebrating local food, with a main event attended by thousands and a number of fringe events around the city.
As part of the Eat Cambridge 2015, Cambridge Sustainable Food organised a Sustainable Restaurant Showcase for the 15 days of the festival, where 11 eateries in and around Cambridge featured a sustainable, locally sourced dish on their menus (particularly impressive as the festival is in May, the worst month for local vegetables).
There are a number of sustainable food enterprises in Cambridge, such as the Cambridge Organic Food Company, a local vegetable box scheme, which also produces a regular newsletter on sustainable food and features information about its local growers on its website. There is also an excellent Sunday Farmers’ Market in the town centre every week and two regular market stalls (Harveys and Carters) selling local fruit and vegetables in addition to imported food.
Cambridge Love Food Hate Waste 2015 - The Cambridge City Recycling Team run a Recycling Champions scheme which includes food waste and have been involved with Love Food Hate Waste projects. Cambridge Sustainable Food is collaborating with the council on a Love Food Hate Waste project between May 2015 and March 2016. This was launched at a high-profile evening on May 21st with Tristram Stuart talking about the Global Food Waste Scandal (with short presentations from local food waste projects and food cooked by Food Cycle from food that would otherwise have been wasted). The next day saw a Punt Stunt, showing a punt filled with food representing food wasted by the average household every year – this made the front page of the Cambridge News. During 2015, the Love Food Hate Waste roadshow will be at a number of public events around the area.
Various community initiatives use food that would otherwise be wasted to provide food for vulnerable local people or to raise awareness of food issues. Food Cycle provides weekly lunches for vulnerable people using unwanted supermarket food, Winter Comfort for the Homeless has a Food4food project, a social enterprise which runs a community café using donated food, and The Liberated Feast organises large food feasts with unwanted food to raise money for good causes. The Gleaning Project also has an East Anglian branch and Cambridge volunteers regularly go to farms in the area to rescue crops that would otherwise be wasted.
Cambridge City Council recently introduced a commercial food waste collection scheme and is working to sign up more businesses to this, in order to reduce commercial food waste.
Cambridge Colleges Catering Managers (CCCM) have an annual environmental award (gold, silver, bronze), based on a survey of various aspects of college catering. The awards scheme is designed to create a wider understanding of the environmental impact of college catering activities and to encourage more sustainable practices. A comprehensive procurement policy is in place that promotes CSR to include local supply and produce, local enterprise and the sourcing of sustainable fish. Collaborative campaigns such as: Meat-free Mondays and Vegetarian Week are supported in a variety of catering activities within the colleges. CCCM are also piloting a ‘Low carbon meals’ scheme, with a footprint label to indicate the most sustainable menu option.
Half of the Cambridge colleges have now signed the Sustainable Fish Cities Pledge, and more are expected to follow.
Contact Kevin Keohane at Christ’s College, chair of the environmental committee, for more information.
Healthy and sustainable diets, cooking skills and food poverty
Cambridge City Council recently produced an Anti-poverty Strategy, which included food poverty and a focus on access to healthy and sustainable food for all. The City Council and the County Council are working on projects concerned with the relation between children’s health and take-away food outlets in the north of the city and also in Fenland.
Cambridge Sustainable Food has recently appointed a project worker (funded by Cambridge City Council) to promote sustainable food and food waste reduction, particularly in low-income areas of the city. In addition to running the Love Food Hate Waste roadshow, she will run a number of cookery workshops, in collaboration with Gap Learning's Fullspoon programme. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Cambridge City Food Bank has 6 outlets in the area and there are several cooking skills initiatives starting up in the city, notably at the Deakin Centre and in the north Cambridge Community Centres. These focus on free courses for low-income groups, but there are also excellent commercial cookery courses, with a strong focus on food sustainability, provided by the Cambridge Cookery School.
The Food for Life Partnership, having worked for a while with schools in the Fenland area of Cambridgeshire, has now started to work with schools in Cambridge City. Cambridge Sustainable Food will involve these schools in its autumn Pumpkin Festival, which will focus on food waste.
Cambridge Sustainable Food is developing its website to cover more aspects of food sustainability, including a Sustainable Food Directory, which will be updated again in July 2015.
Cambridge Sustainable Food Charter
Cambridge Sustainable Food
07 717 802 188
0127 343 1713
0207 065 0902
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is
funded by the Esmée Fairbairn