Plymouth consolidates SFC Bronze Award and aims for Silver

25 April 2019

‘As a founding member of the SFC Network and one of the first cities to achieve bronze back in 2015, Food Plymouth has been a mainstay of the SFC movement. With an incredibly resilient, committed and dynamic partnership, Food Plymouth has not only managed to keep delivering across the board but to take things up to the next level as they work towards the SFC silver award. In announcing their recent bronze award renewal, we wanted to share - in their own words - some of the highlights of their inspirational recent work and achievements.’

Tom Andrews, Sustainable Food Cities

Plymouth’s constant striving and commitment around all things FOOD continues to evolve and grow. We have worked doggedly to overcome many challenges, and the strength of our partnership and network has been the foundation of all our achievements. We are particularly proud of our ongoing demonstrated strengths within the SFC ‘Food and Health’ themes (promoting healthy and sustainable food; food access and poverty; building community food knowledge). Highlights within these areas include:

  • The annual ongoing All Ways Apples festival, which hosts its tenth anniversary event in October 2019. This event provides opportunities to explore every aspect of the apple: the history; the diversity; local varieties; how to grow and care for the trees; pressing fresh juice; great tasting food and healthy apple recipes. Moreover, it is a way of bringing community members together, to engage, connect and learn new skills and exchange knowledge. This event is coordinated by independent permaculture designer and Food Plymouth core team member Tess Wilmot.
  • A successful Sugar Smart campaign hosted by Food Plymouth, which secured funding in 2017 and has run a ‘train the trainer’ style ambassador programme, training over 70 Sugar Smart ambassadors to date, cascading the Sugar Smart messages to organisations and communities across the city and beyond, aligning with the regional Sugar Smart commitment.
  • Recent success in securing funding from Food Power for Food Plymouth to run a Food Equality project in Plymouth to consolidate our already well-developed work in this area. This project will run a series of interactive workshops with individuals with ‘lived experience’ of food insecurity, to include them democratically in the co-creation of an action plan to tackle the issue of food poverty locally using a bottom-up approach.

Our biggest achievement in the past year is the consolidation of true partnership working with Plymouth City Council’s public health team and other local authority partners (who make up the Thrive Plymouth network) to collaborate on ‘People connecting through food’.

This exciting development is part of Thrive Plymouth’s ten-year inequalities programme, and involves a year five (2018-19) focusing on extensive work around six key food projects: strengthening the Plymouth Food Poverty alliance; transforming catering and procurement; spaces and places for food; Be Sugar Smart; minimize (food) waste; and ‘connecting through food’ volunteering.

This focused collective action illustrates how organisations and communities in Plymouth are sharing a positive vision for all aspects of food work, draws a bold line under our maintenance of the bronze SFC status and constitutes a key pillar of our work within our ‘bronze to silver’ action plan. See our vision outlined in the Thrive Plymouth video: achieving the silver award. This collaboration between Food Plymouth, Livewell Southwest and Public Health won our public health team a nomination in the recent #LGC Public Health awards, an accolade which placed them amongst only a few very highly innovative projects that work towards improving public health and addressing inequalities.

Our focus on pushing towards the silver award requires us to work harder on our themes around food economy, catering and procurement and reducing the eco-footprint of the food system. Helped by our Thrive Plymouth year five work, we are realising a renewed vigour around these themes, which will become a special focus for us over the coming two years. In this vein, Food Plymouth is an ‘observer partner’ contributing specialist expertise and connectivity in support of Plymouth Marjon University in the Interreg 2 Seas FLAVOUR project We are also working with the Plymouth-based National Marine Aquarium in support of their leadership of the City’s Sustainable Fish Cities work.

Our intensive work on food economy and procurement stepped up a gear in January 2019, with Food Plymouth collaborating with the King’s Cross Impact Hub to deliver a socially enterprising food business ideation workshop, with additional support and follow up activities, as part of the national Feeding the City programme. To this end, a Food Plymouth Symposium on these topics around local economy, catering and procurement took place in March 2019.

In the realms of national and regional policy and practice, Food Plymouth’s work includes: engaging energetically with the RSA Food Farming and Countryside Commission; being an active partner (along with Oldham, Sandwell, Cardiff, Greenwich and others) in the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network’s Sustainable Food Policy Lab initiative; wholehearted membership of Plymouth Social Enterprise Network; contributing to the Devon New Economies initiative which is engaging with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and others around inclusive growth.

All the above will pave the way for our progressing these key themes at the same time as maintaining those themes in which we are already strong and working successfully towards achieving our silver SFC award in the next few years, which will be a huge achievement for the City of Plymouth.



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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