It was an event to raise the profile of Food Partnerships with MPs to encourage more buy-in to the model and to recognise the brilliant cross-sector work they are doing to promote sustainability in the food system.
The event began with talks from the Chief Executive of Sustain, Kath Dalmeny, discussing the importance of Food Partnerships given the current issues in the food system (child poverty, increased food bank usage, not enough support for agroecological farming, the threats of climate change, increased potential for public procurement etc) and the ability of Food Partnerships to work collectively to address these.
This was followed by a speech from Labour MP Daniel Zeichner recognising the excellent work that partnerships have been doing to date.
Patricia Gibson then gave the keynote speech and talked about some of the work happening in North Ayrshire and Arran, particularly some of the allotments and growing initiatives. She gave a mention to Eco Savvy and the Food Share scheme in her speech!
We then heard from a food partnership coordinator from Leicestershire who was talking about some of their projects including a cross sector bean growing trial, beanmeals, which is being funded by universities to use regenerative agriculture to grow beans for school meals across Leicester city. A super inspiring talk!
After this there was a panel discussion from Food Partnership coordinators from Wales, Scotland and England discussing some of their work and the benefits partnerships bring in tackling issues such as local investment, shortening supply chains, food procurement and more. The panel then took questions from MPs.
Jess had the opportunity to speak with Patricia Gibson at length about the work Eco Savvy and other organizations do on the island to promote environmental sustainability. They also discussed the need for a North Ayrshire food partnership to drive change at the systems level.
It was an inspiring day with many great discussions had!