Leicestershire Sustainable Food and Procurement Summit

5 Sep 2022 | Events

As part of the ongoing collaboration between The Allerton Project and Leicestershire County Council, the 29th of September 2022 will see the inaugural Leicestershire Sustainable Food and Procurement Summit held on the Allerton Project’s practical demonstration farm at Loddington on the Leicestershire/Rutland border. The event is free to attend for anyone with an interest in how farmers and the supply chain can work alongside local authorities to supply more healthy, affordable, high welfare and environmentally friendly local food to our schools, hospitals and other public services.

Back in 2020 alongside the county council and Good Food Leicestershire, The Allerton Project held a Sustainable Food and Farming workshop introduced by National Farmers Union President Minette Batters. The workshop helped develop a plan of how to develop this project and set out key outcomes for the future.  Refocussing on both global and local environmental challenges, in conjunction with the Food Strategy set out by Government in June which seeks to deliver a prosperous agri-food sector delivering healthier and more sustainable diets for all.

The event this year, funded by the county council, has set out direct aims to create a change within the procurement of foods into council run schools and hospitals.  Local food for local schools is an initiative we believe is of vital importance more so now than ever, fuelling today’s children with nutritional food from local producers. Connecting children with local farms, how food is produced and how it arrives to their table improves their relationship and knowledge within food and farming. Developing this knowledge within children supports the future of British agriculture and consumer behaviour.

Resilience is something British agriculture knows too well, in times of need the country turns to its farmers to produce more food or produce food differently in accordance with consumer demand. More recently British agriculture has adopted an ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2040. Key to this will be the more widespread adoption of ‘regenerative’ farming practices, the key elements of which are a focus on building healthy soils, optimising and reducing the use of synthetic inputs and increasing the level of biological diversity across the farmed landscape. Taken together, these actions can also help farms become sinks for warming greenhouse gasses, helping to produce ‘climate friendly’ food. Research conducted here at the Allerton Project has contributed to the development of regenerative farming methods and therefore sustainability through the food chain is something of high importance to us here in Loddington.

The day will include a diverse range of speakers from farmers to food leaders, all addressing the key issues of how moving forward we can create practical change and opportunity. The day follows an informative agenda, providing the space for networking with producers, council officials and other industry professionals, including a food court which will showcase some of the best of local farm food. Complimentary hot lunch will be provided by our neighbours Launde Farm Foods, and will highlight the benefits of footsteps rather than food miles.

Gavin Fletcher, Co-ordinator of Good Food Leicestershire, says: “If we get food right, we can solve some of today’s most pressing issues – the climate, biodiversity, and food security. At GFL, we’re looking to get food more sustainably grown, of higher nutrition, into our procurement. And that means feeding Leicestershire school children better produce while supporting our economy and environment.”

Follow this link to book your space at the event  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/leicestershire-sustainable-food-and-procurement-summit-tickets-402380158887.

For comment please contact Nieves Lovatt nlovatt@gwct.org.uk. Press interest welcome.

The Allerton Project researches the effects of different farming methods on wildlife and the environment, sharing results of our research through advisory and educational activities. This is undertaken on our 320 hectare demonstration farm based in Leicestershire, United Kingdom. Visitors to the project include businesses, policy makers, non-government organisations, regulators, farmers, advisors, students, and schools. Commercial farming and environmental rejuvenation will be successful with considered policy and interventions from those that manage our countryside. In essence, the Allerton Project is an award winning, pioneering blueprint for future rural landscapes.

Good Food Leicestershire marks the start of a long-term journey to make Leicestershire a healthier and more sustainable county. We recognise the strong role that food plays across the community and our aim is to work across the sectors to tackle growing health issues, reduce the impact of poverty, cut food waste, and address the environmental impact of food. We are proud to be the first full county member of the national Sustaina

ble Food Places initiative.

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