Brighton & Hove has become the first in the UK to win a Gold Sustainable Food Places Award from Sustainable Food Places.
The award recognises the city’s outstanding achievements on a range of key food issues and most recently on tackling food poverty during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s testament to a number of city-wide food projects, businesses, community and voluntary groups, individuals and departments of the local authority striving to enshrine sustainable practices.
The coordination of projects within the city has led to Brighton & Hove being a hive of sustainability and good food work, with good results in childhood obesity and the tripling of community gardens in the past five years.
The bid, that was coordinated by the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, was originally supposed to be submitted in Spring 2020 but was pushed back due to the response to the pandemic, as both the Food Partnership and Brighton & Hove City Council were involved in the Emergency Food Network, that became the vehicle for an astonishing citywide emergency food response to the pandemic lockdown.
Director of Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, Vic Borril said: “We have coordinated this bid, but the activities in it are not ours alone - they belong to the whole city and beyond.
“Food has never been so important. It has the power to bring people together and change lives.”
A candle in the dark
Leader of the council, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “This magnificent Gold Sustainable Food Place Award achievement, the first for any place in our country, holds a candle in the dark.
"After a year in which our relationship with food has been put under more strain and scrutiny than ever before in many of our lifetimes, it is appropriate to end the year celebrating a healthier, more sustainable relationship with food in the city.
"The achievements of the past few months demonstrate what is truly special about Brighton & Hove, and what strong foundations we have to tackle issues around food.
"However, I am not complacent that a gold award is the end of the road for Brighton & Hove. This is about how we all work together to improve the food system and make healthy, sustainable options for all in our city.
“The climate emergency we declared in 2018 is linked to food in a way that many perhaps do not realise.
"We have until 2030 to reach our climate targets, and we can make our city more resilient to fluctuations to our food supply, if we rise to that challenge together."