Can Kirklees develop a Strong and Sustainable Food Economy? Today saw the launch of a new report outlining a way forward: click here for the full report:
Kirklees Public Health Directorate commissioned the research on which this report is based. Between October 2014 and July 2015, fifteen interviews were conducted in Kirklees with key actors in the community food sector and the local authority. These interviews were complimented with five more at the national level.
The overall aim of the research was to provide evidence of how the current Kirklees food system contributes to the aim of making local people and the economy more resilient. The research had three main objectives:
· To explore the potential impact of local food on economic development.
· To examine possible frameworks for an independent Kirklees food partnership.
· To develop awareness and promote the significance of these issues.
A number of key findings emerge.
1. Many community food enterprises exist in isolation and there is little to bind them together beyond small reciprocal exchanges.
2. The community food sector needs more support and Kirklees should focus on the many good things that are already happening across the borough.
3. Redefining what is meant by ‘local food’ would improve the effectiveness of local supply chains and enable better procurement.
4. Better local procurement and sourcing would enable local producers and entrepreneurs to make a more effective contribution to the local economy.
5. A system of local/ sub regional food hubs is already in place across Kirklees comprised of community retailers, farms shops and schools.
6. There is a wide support for the development of an independent Kirklees food partnership and central food hub to coordinate these initiatives more effectively.
7. The Brighton and Hove partnership provides a good model for Kirklees to follow, but the right people must be involved from the outset if any new approach is to be successful.
8. Any new agenda must ensure that all the diverse communities across Kirklees, deprived as well as affluent benefit from any new ways of working.
9. Better planning and public policies are needed if the joint Kirklees Health/Well-Being and Economic Strategies are to bring about outcomes that cut across different areas of service delivery.
10. More commitment and support for partnership working is needed across all sectors in West Yorkshire.
Five recommendations are made.
1. Provide more support for the community food sector in Kirklees
2. Initiative better partnership working and collaboration across all sectors in West Yorkshire
3. Link the local food system with local supply chains to enhance local sourcing and procurement
4. Initiative better planning and policy to link the food system to population needs across different areas of service delivery more effectively.
5. Develop a local food partnership and food hub infrastructure to drive the food strategy to the next level.