Setting up a Food Partnership

Food Partnership Structure

Any newly emerging food partnership soon has to address issues of structure. Considerations include: whether to have a formal membership structure or not; to what extent the partnership is democratically accountable; whether to become a service delivery organisation or to be more of a collaborative forum convened to ensure a strategic approach to action by partners in the local food system (backbone organisation); where to house the partnership and whether it takes a legal form or not. These issues have been addressed in detail in the Food Partnership Structures Guide (including an Overview of Legal Structures).

The main message that is worth emphasising is that it’s important to try and avoid getting bogged down! Getting absorbed in worrying about governance, especially legal structures can slow you down for years! Remember that your food partnership will need to evolve as it develops and will likely change structure at several points in its lifetime. The priority in the early days is to create a strong joint vision that stakeholders buy into. Once this has happened it will be clearer what type of structure will be needed. Accepting uncertainty is required in the early days.


Leon Ballin
Sustainable Food Cities

Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by

Soil Association

Food Matters

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation 

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