FoodFutures is made up of representatives from the local farming community, local food businesses, the public sector, Lancaster City and County council, NGOs, community food groups and local academic institutions.
This partnership of people from across North Lancashire’s food system are working together to create a thriving local food system that is healthy, resilient and fair.
It is working towards making this vision a reality through:
- ‘Innovation’ – We are creative, ambitious and dynamic – filling gaps in our local food infrastructure that will help to build resilience. This includes running seasonal markets, ingraining Action Research into our work, initiating Lancaster District’s FarmStart scheme and hosting the first Northern Real Farming Conference to inspire transitions in our local farming community.
- ‘Cooperation, connections and action’ – We connect initiatives and catalyse action across the food system; supporting the development of a collaborative cross-sector food partnership that oversees the cultivation and delivery of a Sustainable Food Action Plan for Lancaster District.
- ‘Fair food / the environment’ – We think globally and act locally, working towards promoting and supporting the fair and equal distribution of healthy food, treating consumers, animals, workers and the land fairly.
- We harness local passion and expertise for healthy, resilient and fair food in order to help it spread and grow so that more people, places and organisations within our District can benefit from being part of a resilient food sector.
Inspired by sociocracy, our working groups, quarterly partnership meetings and steering (heart) group are key to cultivating this resilient food work.
Our working groups develop and implement strategy around the themes below, feeding back on progress during quarterly partnership meetings that are open to the wider community to hear about what’s going on across our local food system.
FOOD + HEALTH : Promoting healthy and sustainable food. This group currently coordinates a food strand within Lancaster’s annual Lost Art of Living Health Festival.
FOOD POVERTY: Tackling food poverty, diet-related ill health and access to affordable healthy food. This group’s work is varied and includes supporting Lancaster District’s food club network, local food banks, setting up and coordinating our local surplus food distribution hub and developing strategy to empower local residents to move beyond the food bank.
FOOD SKILLS: Building community food knowledge, skills, resources and projects. This lively group is attended by reps from local community food projects and schools, with the aim of strengthening existing projects whilst supporting new ones to flourish. Sow and sew libraries, designing food growing spaces in school grounds and developing a modern day land army are just some of the initiatives it is working on.
FOOD ECONOMY AND PROCUREMENT: Promoting a vibrant and diverse sustainable food economy. Transforming catering and food procurement. Lancaster’s FarmStart scheme and Northern Real Farming Conference are just some of the projects that have emerged from this working group.
ENVIRONMENT: Reducing waste and the ecological footprint of the food system. This group is aligning its work with Lancaster City Council’s Climate Emergency strategy after the people’s jury identified food and farming as a priority area for Lancaster District. Developing a modern day ‘land army’. gleaning network and facilitating community composting are just some of its focus areas.
HEART GROUP: Facilitating collaborative food working cultures. This group exists to steer and look after the health of the FoodFutures network, partnership and core workers. It seeks to look at the bigger picture and to question the health of the whole system – to check energy is being invested in the right places and to reflect on what is working and what needs to be adapted and built on. Its key functions are supportive; to steer strategy (including oversight of funding and the development of collaborative working cultures); to oversee communications and engagement plans, whilst offering a space for philosophical discussion.
PARTNERSHIP: Joining the dots by developing a holistic local food strategy. This meets quarterly and expects at least one (ideally two) representatives to attend from each working group to report on progress and facilitate collaborative projects aligned with the wider strategy.
FoodFutures coordinators use this oversight to facilitate a decentralized communications strategy that aims to build a ‘good food movement’ – one that cultivates food citizens and invests in resilient local food systems.
As part of this work they coordinate a local food column in the Lancaster and Morecambe Guardian and are currently updating Lancaster’s online local food directory. In 2020 they plan to launch a local food themed magazine that complements FoodFutures seasonal farmers markets and other foodies events. They are also developing a citizen journalist group and scoping need regarding an online farmers market and food hub distribution network.