Tackling global food issues through local action

Local food systems are about much more than local food

As part of the launch of our Food Systems Policy Hub, N8 AgriFood Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Dr Rachel Marshall from Lancaster University, explored the health, environmental, social and economic impacts of local food systems in a webinar on Thursday 12 November.

The webinar considered how local food systems are about much more than just local food. It explored how our local food systems have far-reaching consequences on our health and the environment, as well as social and economic wellbeing.

Local authorities, businesses and communities have the power to influence the sustainability and fairness of our food systems through their buying power, decision-making processes and community engagement.

The talks highlighted how N8 AgriFood research is focusing on local action and policy making in order to tackle global problems. The session was chaired by Ben Reynolds, Deputy Chief Executive of Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming.

The speakers considered various aspects of local food systems, from the role of institutional procurement, to responding to the climate emergency. In addition, the webinar examined the civic role our universities should play in supporting local communities to realise a shared vision for the places we live.

  • Dr Rachel Marshall, Senior Research Associate, Lancaster University – Procuring food for the future: Using public money to grow local social and environmental resilience
  • Dr Paola Sakai, UKRI Research and Innovation Fellow, University of Leeds – Enabling a climate-resilient food system in Leeds
  • James Coe, Senior Policy Advisor, University of Liverpool – The Civic University: Building engagement across policy and community
  • Gina Dowding, Lancaster City Councillor, Lancashire County Councillor and former Green MEP for the North West (July 2019 – January 2020) – From policy to practice: How can researchers engage and inform policymakers

Didn’t catch the webinar? Watch the recording…

Find out more…

Policy impact

Healthy meal at food kitchen

Seeking justice: How to understand and end food poverty in York

This York Food Justice Alliance report provides a clear picture of food poverty and insecurity in York, as well as an action plan setting out a way to unlock food poverty for thousands of people in the city.

Read the report
Food parcels

Hungry for change: Fixing the failures in food report

N8 AgriFood academics from the Universities of Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and York provided their expertise for this report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment.

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Food crates in warehouse

POSTnote research briefing – A resilient UK food system

Through collaboration with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) we placed Joe Llanos, a fourth year PhD student at the University of Sheffield, in a 3 month internship at POST resulting in this food systems resilience POSTnote.

Read the breifing

Research and policy briefs

Stocked shelves in a food bank

How COVID-19 has exposed inequalities in the UK food system: The case of UK food and poverty

This is a paper from the N8 AgriFood Collection for Emerald Open Research, by Dr Madeleine Power, Prof Bob Doherty, Dr Katie Pybus and Prof Kate Pickett, University of York.

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Children watering allotment

Shifting food policy from commodity to community thinking

This is a paper from the N8 AgriFood Collection for Emerald Open Research, by Laura Knowlson from the University of York and Dr Rachel Marshall from Lancaster University.

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Healthy foods in wooden bowls

Growing a resilient food system in Leeds

This is a Policy brief by researchers from the University of Leeds, providing an insight into workshops which explored how a climate resilient food
system that promotes health, sustainability and food security can be developed in Leeds.

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People at an event

York Citizen Food Assembly

This Policy brief provides an insight into the York Citizen Food Assembly, which brought together people who reflect the wider population in York to consider the challenges and opportunities facing the local food system.

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Pile of carrots

Food hubs in the UK: Where are we and what next?

This Policy discussion paper by the Food Research Collaboration initiative outlines the role of food hubs and was produced in collaboration with the University of Sheffield.

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Locally grown fruit and vegetables

Revitalising local economies: How food hubs can help

This Food policy guidance note is by the Food Research Collaboration initiative, with support researchers at the University of Sheffield, explores how to strengthen the infrastructure of local food systems.

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