Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why sustainable food procurement?

Why should local government get involved?
“Sustainability focuses on providing the best outcomes for both the human and natural environments now, and into the indefinite future.” 
The UK Government buys £13 billion worth of goods and services each year, for the wider public sector this figure is £125 billion (1).  This year, the UK's 468 local authorities will spend over £80 billion on day to day services - over a quarter of all public expenditure (2). 
It is clear that with such significant buying power the public sector can make a great deal of difference if it changes its buying habits, creating a large market for more sustainable products and ways of procuring those products. 
But why sustainable food?
As for all public sector activities, it is important that a policy can be shown to benefit the local community.  How food is served, prepared, purchased and produced can have a significant impact on the health of individuals, communities and their environment.
For local councils sustainable food is about (2):
• Promoting good health
• Having access to healthy food.
• Supporting the local economy by buying food from as close by as possible
• Eating food in season
• Sustainable farming, involving high environmental standards and reduced energy consumption
• Promoting animal welfare, and valuing nature and biodiversity
• Fair prices, fair trade and ethical employment in the UK and overseas.
Food procurement not only effects the wider global environment but also directly affects the health of the individuals who eat it. 
Sustainable food procurement allows both the healthy eating, economic and environmental agenda to be combined and acted upon . It gives local government an opportunity to take the lead in a field where we can truly make a difference to our local communities.

For more info and a toolkit, please visit FOOD VISION

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