Promoting a vibrant sustainable food economy


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

1. Promote a sustainable food economy through policy and planning

British Food Fortnight is the annual flagship event for engaging the retail, catering, education and volunteer sectors in celebrating British food.

RUAF Foundation look at how the private sector can help shape more sustainable city region food systems and what business and policy environment is needed.

2. Support new sustainable food entrepreneurs

BizzFizz develops social capital by building supportive networks around entrepreneurs that can provide knowledge, contacts, premises and finance.

Capital Growth and Growing Communities have produced the Urban Farming Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Help Prospective Growers Establish & Run a Growing Enterprise.

Community Catalysts' toolkit 'Marketing for Community Enterprises' includes information about linking with public sector commissioners, getting your message right, the power of ‘word of mouth’ and ‘jargon busting’.

Co-operatives UK works to promote and support co-operative enterprises, providing advice and support to a huge range of food enterprises.

F3 - the local food consultants provide bespoke advice to producer groups, community food enterprises and food businesses.

The Food Ethics Council explores the business case for adopting and promoting sustainable diets in the foodservice sector.

"Future Farmers II: A guide to running a farm-based agroecological traineeship" aims to help small farmers take on trainees.

Groceries Code Adjudicator is a watchdog to protect suppliers and farmers from large retailers abusing their buying power.

Making Local Food Work provided networking, specialist enterprise support and legal and governance training and advice to community food enterprises.

Soil Association Future Growers scheme offers training and support for aspiring organic growers. 

Sustain offers resources on how to run community cafés through Cracking Community Cafés.  

The Land Workers' Alliance works to establish farmer-to-farmer networks for knowledge exchange, and to influence land policy.

The Plunkett Foundation offers a wealth of resources and for sustainable food entrepreneurs and community food enterprises.

Urbanag act as consultants, project managers and capacity builders, promoting sustainable and economically viable urban agriculture projects.

3. Promote healthy and sustainable food businesses

Essential Guide to Doing Transition explores a range of approaches to promoting healthy and sustainable food as part of the Transition movement.

Evidence from the Bristol Eating Better Award provides insights for planning and delivering award schemes to promote healthy and sustainable food to consumers.

Healthy High Streets produced a report about different approaches to improve the high street food retail environment.

NABMA works to protect and promote local markets. They host an annual event called Love Your Local Market.

National Farmer’s Retail and Markets Association (FARMA) provide expert advice on farmer’s markets and local direct sales.

Organic September is an annual national campaign run by the Soil Association to promote organic food and food businesses. 

Sourdough September run by the Real Bread Campaign is a series of events promoting small bakeries and home baking of sourdough bread. 

Sustain produced a briefing on the development of Good Food Retail Plans for London boroughs and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

4. Increase spending in local food businesses

FoodFuture Bridport undertook a study on local independent retail and found that a 10% shift of our weekly food spend away from supermarkets to independent retailers could support more than 50 extra jobs.

Local money: How to make it happen in your community is a comprehensive guide to developing a local currency.

Reimagine your High Street aims to regenerate town centres into sustainable community hubs, where people go to meet each other, not just to shop.

5. Support sustainable start-up food businesses

Part 11 (Section 140) of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 allows local authorities to grant relief to any type of ratepayer and/or for any reason, as they see fit, provided that these comply with state aid rules. Relief can be granted to a sole property, a street, a town centre or a particular type of business or sector. Section 140 of the Act came into force on 31 October 2015 through The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2015. The local authority must fully fund the relief itself.

6. Protect and/or re-establish vital food infrastructure

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

Mapping Local Food Webs Toolkit helps you to establish the connections in the food chain and to highlight their importance to your local community and economy.

Tescopoly is an alliance working to limit the negative impact of supermarkets on communities, small businesses and the environment.

7. Help producers connect better with local consumers

BigBarn's mission is to give farmers a better deal and consumers access to fresher, cheaper food by fostering more direct trading relationships.

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Network UK brings together CSA groups and enterprises across the UK.  

Farm Drop is a flexible online platform that connects growers and customers to ensure a fair price for both producers and consumers.

Farmhopping is a new platform set up by a group of small sustainable farms to provide customers with a new way of buying their food.

Food Assembly is digital platform where consumers can get together to buy directly from local farmers and food makers.

Open Food Network is a not-for-profit co-operative of food enterprises offering the only open source online system to connect producers and shoppers 

Rural Regeneration Unit has formed many community food co-operatives across the UK and links these co-ops with local growers and suppliers.

Soil Association has an extensive network of more than 100 farms across the UK who run special visits, open days and other public activities.

Sustain holds a list of regional and national software systems that can be used to sell local produce.  

8. Help restaurants to become more sustainable

City and Guilds offers qualifications for chefs who want to integrate sustainability into professional kitchens, including waste management and food sourcing.

Public Health England’s Strategies for Encouraging Healthier ‘Out of Home’ Food Provision toolkit assists local authorities across England in working with smaller food outlets, such as takeaways, restaurants, bakers, corner shops, leisure centres, children’s centres and nurseries, to help them offer healthier food and drinks.

Recipe for a Greener Curry makes recommendations for how ethnic businesses can celebrate and serve sustainable food.

SusCooks Training for Sustainable Cooking is an EU-funded e-learning course providing practical support and guidance to chefs and public sector caterers wishing to adopt more sustainable practices in the planning, procurement, preparation and promotion of their activity.

Sustain's Good Food Guide aims to provide advice on how to introduce simple sustainable practices within established restaurants, cafés and catering businesses. 

Sustainable Restaurant Association helps restaurants improve their overall sustainability and has an on-line directory of sustainable product and service suppliers.


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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