Earlier this month, Liverpool’s Food Insecurity Task Force unveiled Liverpool’s Good Food Plan, a strategy to create a city “where everyone can eat good food”, it addresses key issues related to the food we eat in Liverpool. Phase I of the Good Food Plan is about tackling the immediate and urgent challenges that the city is facing while building a framework and foundation to create real systemic change in the medium and long term.
32% of adults in Liverpool are food insecure, Liverpool is home to 3 of the 10 most economically deprived food deserts in England, only 12% of kids aged 11 to 18 eat their five-a-day (NDNS 2021) and a survey of the menus of 26% of nurseries in Liverpool found them all to be deficient in energy, carbohydrates, iron, and zinc. Meanwhile, an estimated 140,000 tonnes of food is wasted in Liverpool City each year, producing approximately 368,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, the equivalent of the CO2 produced by 80,033 cars in one year.
The plan addresses key issues including acute hunger; chronic food insecurity; access to and take-up of healthy, nutritious food; and the sustainability of food supply in Liverpool, and is focused around five goals:
Goal 1: ‘Good food’ at points of crisis
They want to ensure people in crisis get access to ‘good food’ quickly and easily.
Goal 2: Uncovering the true scale of food insecurity
They want to better understand and document the scale and experiences of food insecurity.
Goal 3: Enabling food citizenship
They want to enable people to have the power, voice, resources and motivation to shape their local food environments and the food system as a whole.
Goal 4: Shifting policy and practice
They want to shift policy and practice to enable ‘good food’ to flourish.
Goal 5: Connecting the community
They want to bring together a community of people and organisations that have a part to play in achieving good food for all.
The Good Food Plan delivers part of one of Liverpool City Council’s ‘Pandemic Pledges’, ‘Good Food, Warm Home’, announced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It also supports Liverpool’s City Plan vision to create a ‘thriving sustainable, fair city for everyone’ and builds on the existing and ongoing work of the Poverty Action Group and Liverpool’s Healthy Weight Declaration.
Liverpool’s Food Insecurity Task Force said that it “sees this time as a pivotal moment in history; a time of significant change and challenge that also presents a rare opportunity to define what ‘good food’ means to us.”
The Good Food Plan will be an evolving plan and a living document, owned by the people and organisations of the city and informed by real-time action and reflection. The group is proposing a fundamentally different approach that shifts power to people and communities to create real change by:
- Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do
- Balancing immediate relief with addressing the root causes of food insecurity
- Unlocking the power of people and enabling citizens to have their voice heard
- Learning, adapting and innovating as we go
- Making information, data, stories and best practice accessible
- Challenging stigma and shifting narratives.
Representatives from key city organisations and Liverpool residents came together to launch the plan:
Councillor Jane Corbett said “With the impact of austerity and now the pandemic, poverty is rising very fast. As a council, we will continue to support our citizens struggling to make ends meet, with emergency grants and household items for as long as we can. In this day and age, it is morally wrong that so many families are having to decide between putting food on the table, clothing their children, paying the fuel bills or keeping a roof over their head. This Good Food Plan builds on the many years a good number of us have been responding to food insecurity, working alongside those most affected, and taking our partnership work to the next level. Government must now finally agree to the Marmot policy action to “ensure a healthy standard of living for all.”
Melisa Campbell, Consultant in Public Health at Liverpool City Council and co-chair of Liverpool’s Food Insecurity Task Force said “The relationship between food insecurity and health is clear. In order to make budgets stretch, people are forced to purchase food items that are cheap, often processed and lacking in nutrition in order to put a meal on the table. This is resulting in poorer health for many families and exacerbates existing medical conditions.”
Kevin Peacock, Chief Executive of St. Andrews Community network and co-chair of Liverpool’s Food Insecurity Task Force said “We want to end the need for food banks. Emergency food provision (like food parcels from a food bank) is essential and has been a lifeline for many during the pandemic but using a food bank should be rare and short term and we must better understand and tackle the root causes of food insecurity.”
MP Ian Byrne said “People have little to no influence in decisions being made about the food that’s on their high streets and on their supermarket shelves. We want to change this. We want people to have a say in what type of food is in their neighbourhoods, on their high streets, in their schools and other places they go to eat or shop for food. We want the Right To Food where every household in our city can afford healthy and nutritious food, and to tackle the inequalities we see in our communities by a change in legislation.”
Dr Naomi Maynard, Food Insecurity Lead Executive Together Liverpool and Network Coordinator of Feeding Liverpool said “This is the beginning of our journey and we invite you to join us. No matter who you are or what you do, there’s a role for you to play to ensure that everyone in Liverpool can eat Good Food”
The Plan states that “for real change to happen we must come together as a community of people and organisations interested in achieving good food for all”. It has been developed in partnership with people and organisations such as Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services, Feeding Liverpool, North Liverpool Foodbank, St Aidans Pantry, Micah Liverpool, Liverpool Arabic Centre, Together Liverpool, Merseyside Youth Association, Food Active, The University of Liverpool, Feedback Global, The Food Domain, St Andrews Community Network, Fans Supporting Food Banks, Liverpool Hope University, Torus Foundation, Liverpool Health Partners, Arena Partners, NESTA’s People Powered Results Team, Nugent Care, The Joseph Lappin Centre, Kensington Fields Community Association and The GreenHouse Project.
The plan can be viewed here.
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