Green Cabinet member, Cllr Fi Hance, is working to connect over one hundred buyers, catering managers, cooks, producers and suppliers from across the West of England's public and private sectors to discuss opportunities for healthy, sustainable and local food procurement.
On Wednesday 1st February representatives from schools, hospitals, leisure centres, visitor attractions, workplaces and universities took part in a conference, with each delegate making pledges to drive interventions for health and sustainability in their organisation.
The event was jointly hosted by Bath & North East Somerset Council and Bristol City Council who were represented by the Green Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Fi Hance, and was held at Farrington’s Farm in Farrington Gurney.
Councillor Fi Hance, commented saying: “By working together the four West of England Local Authorities have a great opportunity to help connect regional businesses with local food suppliers and producers. This is a really exciting agenda that should see improved sustainability and fewer food miles associated with the local authorities’ food provision. We want to see organisations across the whole region being able to easily source sustainable, healthy food which is good value for money. The conference was a great opportunity to see how many organisations had made practical changes to their food procurement bringing huge benefits to their service users, the local economy and the environment and will help us to work more collaboratively on this agenda.”
A dozen local producers and suppliers attended the conference and made a pitch to buyers. Andy Jeffery from Farrington’s Farm said: “In all the years I’ve been farming here in Somerset, I’ve never witnessed a more inspiring declaration of intent from private and public sector alike to source locally, healthily and sustainably.”
Professor Kevin Morgan (Dean of Engagement, Cardiff University) said: "The formation of the West of England Food Procurement Group is a very positive step in the right direction because it shows that local authorities are taking the lead in demonstrating how the public sector can deploy its collective power of purchase to promote healthier and more sustainable food from around the region that is good for people and planet alike."
For more information about the West of England Food Procurement Group and conference please visit: www.bathnes.gov.uk/sustainablefoodprocurement