Building community food knowledge, skills, resources and projects


Use the links below for useful information, toolkits and guides to help you take action.

1. Establish a network for community food activists

Food Matters’ Building Local Food Systems Handbook provides a wealth of information on how to change your local food system.

The Local Food Fund’s Food e-community is an online networking tool which helps local food activists connect and share best practice. 

The National Union of Student's 'For Good' platform enables students and organisations to connect on practical projects, research or placements in sustainability.

2. Map and make available assets

Edible Estates offers practical guidance to those working for or with housing providers to establish food growing schemes.

Power to Change have published guidance for public authorities and community businesses on developing, appraising, implementing and evaluating Community Asset Transfers and their social and economic benefits.

3. Incorporate food growing in local development

Edible Roof Gardens provides advice and bespoke services to those wanting to create wildlife friendly and productive roof gardens.

Sustain’s Planning Sustainable Cities for Community Food Growing advises planners on using food growing as a way of creating healthy communities.

Sustain’s report Good planning for good food: How the planning system in England can support healthy and sustainable food.

Sustain’s online toolkit Planning Food Cities helps communities use the planning system to support community food growing.

The Town and Country Planning Association's new development guidelines for Local Authorities take on an explicit public health perspective and recommend improving the food environment by giving communities the means to grow their own food in designated public and private spaces accessible from the home, school, or workplace.  

4. Increase community food growing

Big Dig organise national events across the UK that aim to raise the profile of community gardens and encourage more people to take part.

BillyOh have produced a comprehensive guide to growing from planning to harvesting, reaping best practices and composting.

Community Land Advisory Service helps communities identify growing sites, links them with landowners and helps with leases and related issues.

Garden Organic uses campaigning, advice, community work and research to get everyone growing ‘the organic way’.

Grow It Yourself provides many resources for developing gardening skills, including information about setting up a community food growing network.

Growing Together helped community growing groups to develop innovative funding strategies to secure more finance, land and resources for growing food.

Incredible Edible Network supports a rapidly growing network of place-based growing initiatives throughout the UK.

Landshare links people who want to grow with those who have land to share and is now a thriving community of more than 55,000 growers, sharers and helpers.

Social Farms & Gardens promotes and supports community-managed farms, gardens, allotments and other green spaces.

Sustain’s Grow More Food: Top Tips provides a useful overview of how you can improve the yield of your growing site. 

Sustain’s Future Farmers: a guide to running an urban food growing traineeship is aimed at organisations looking to set up traineeships as part of their food growing enterprise. 

The What Happens Next Project offers expertise in design, building and managing outdoor spaces sustainably.  

5. Improve food education and engagement in schools

Appetite for Life sets out the actions required to improve the standards of food and drink provided in schools in Wales.

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Campaign for School Gardens provides resources for teachers and schools to start school gardens.

Children’s Food Trust offers specialist advice, training and support to anyone who provides food for children, including schools, caterers and local governments.

Edible Playgrounds transform outdoor spaces in school grounds into green growing spaces, giving children the opportunity to grow, harvest and eat healthy food.

Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) aims to educate children and young people about food and farming in a sustainable countryside.

Farm Academy integrates food and farming into the curriculum through residential visits to farms and setting up school farmers markets in schools.

Food Matters’ FoodTalks! uses participatory appraisal to engage the whole school community (pupils, parents, teachers, and governors) about food and health. 

The Food for Life Partnership delivers an award winning whole school food education and engagement programme in schools throughout England.

School Food Matters works to improve school meals and support food education through cooking, growing and links with local farms.

6. Provide training opportunities on buying, cooking and nutrition

Focus on Food works throughout the UK providing cooking classes to children and training teachers and community leaders in how to teach cooking.

PhunkyFoods is an award-winning early years and primary school programme of healthy food and lifestyle curriculum activities, lesson plans and resources.

7. Change local authority policy and practice

LG Inform Plus is a tool from the Local Government Association which gives access to up-to-date information and data within a local authority.

Meanwhile use leases and guidance for landlords explains how temporary occupation of empty retail premises by non-commercial occupiers can work.

Meanwhile space offers advice and guidance to landlords, local authorities and occupiers on temporary use of land and retail space.

8. Help communities protect and take control of assets

CAMRA have piloted work on how the Sustainable Communities Act can be used to save community pubs.

Local Works promotes the use of the Sustainable Communities Act and supports local councils and residents working together to reverse community decline.

Locality have published Community Asset Mapping, a guide to helping communities identify and secure land and buildings for community use.

Locality have published Transforming derelict or underused land through community-led models which includes benefits, challenges, types of tenure, and case studies.

My Community Rights is a website and free advice service run by Locality that helps communities to apply their community rights.

Power to Change Fund aims to support and develop community-led enterprises, particularly through the creation of community owned assets.

Shared Assets offers practical advice, support and training to landowners and communities who want to manage land as a sustainable and productive asset.


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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