New report shows which London boroughs are prioritising the future of food
Islington Council have topped the latest good food league table, published by London Food Link this week, having achieved top marks across 9 of the 11 measures featured in the annual review.
This ninth Good Food for London report reveals which councils are leading the way in securing a better food environment and culture for their residents, workers and visitors.
Coming out top of this year’s league table, for the second year running, is the borough of Islington, followed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich and borough of Tower Hamlets.
Southwark and Newham have also been recognised as most improved councils, demonstrating significant progress since 2018. Last year Southwark was 17th in the league table, but this year moved up an impressive 11 places to 6th. Newham moved up seven places since last year to 22nd, the second biggest improvement.
Kath Dalmeny, chief executive of the food and farming alliance Sustain, which coordinates the report, said, “The progress that many London boroughs have made this year is inspiring. It is especially positive that despite so much political uncertainty, the power of good food to transform our health, green space and decent livelihoods in food production continues to be a focus for action by London’s local authorities and communities. Our city can be proud that we are taking tangible steps towards a time when good food is accessible for everyone and our food system plays its full role in protecting our health and the environment.”
Top areas of improvement
The Good Food For London league table shows how councils are taking action to support access to healthy and sustainable food across 11 measures. It ranks performance on these measures, to assess if each council is supporting community food growing, infant health, the London Living Wage, Fairtrade, sustainable catering, animal welfare, healthier food environments and school food.
One area of significant progress in 2019 was commitment to healthier food; since 2018 four additional councils signed the Local Government Declaration (LGD) on Sugar Reduction and Healthier Food, bringing the total to 14. Of these nine were as part of a national Sustainable Food Cities campaign, to tackle sugar overconsumption and encourage healthier food environments.
Fran Bernhardt, national SUGAR SMART campaign coordinator says “It’s brilliant to see new SUGAR SMART campaigns launching and councils signing the Local Government Declarations over the last year. These commitments take boroughs one step closer to guaranteeing healthier food for all their residents with particularly impressive work to bring healthy food to schools as well as the implementation of healthier food advertising policies.’
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Councils have continued to prioritise the best start for babies, with four more boroughs receiving UNICEF UK Baby Friendly accreditation, bringing the total to 30. Of these 12 achieved full accreditation, helping the wellbeing outcomes of both mothers and children.
This year 18 councils were awarded accreditation as London Living Wage Employers. Six of these also received top marks for also promoting the scheme locally to businesses and being a Living Wage Funder, to help ensure more local charities pay the London Living Wage.
Twenty-seven councils have taken significant action to ensure the future of fish stocks by committing to and implementing a sustainable fish policy. These policies make a real difference to the way fish is bought and promoted in London, including removing Marine Conservation Society ‘red rated’ fish from their purchasing, and therefore the related menus. In recognition of their progress on procurement of sustainable fish, Brent Council have received an award for their partnership with catering company, Apelona.
The report also covers how London councils are addressing other healthy and sustainable food issues through initiatives such as:
- Healthier Catering Commitment
- Food For Life
- Fairtrade food
- Food culture in schools (including Healthy Schools London)
- Animal welfare
- Food growing and Capital Growth
- Sustainable Food Cities – Food Partnerships
Further action, outside of the 11 measures is showcased in this year’s report with snapshots of other healthy and sustainable food initiatives. This year, London’s Child Obesity Taskforce set out their 10 ambitions to improve children health and Kitchen Social highlight their programme to help grass-roots organisations providing food for children and young people during school holidays.
In summary of the final year of their ‘Small Change Big Difference’ campaign, TRiFOCAL London give their insights and information on their free resources for reducing food waste. The report also tracks progress during the first year of The Mayor of London's new Food Strategy, which includes work on Good Food Retail, also featured.
The report is launched on Wednesday 30 October in London’s Living Room at City Hall, along with its sibling publication, Beyond the Food Bank. The full league table and interactive borough maps are online and in PDF format on the Good Food For London website . This work is supported by the Mayor of London.
Sarah Davenport, Good Food for London Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 3559 6777
Notes for editors
- London Food Link is the voice for good food in London and has been running since 2002 as part of the charity Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming (https://www.sustainweb.org/). We run projects and campaigns to help create a better food system for all Londoners. This report is a key part of our work, showing how local authorities are addressing some of the major issues or levers for change at the borough level, while ensuring that healthy, ethical and sustainable food remains firmly on the political plate.
- Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. We represent around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level, and work with hundreds more on local initiatives to improve the food system.
- Sustain’s working definition of good food is that it should be produced, processed, bought, sold and eaten in ways that provide social benefits, contribute to thriving local economies that create good jobs and secure livelihoods, enhance the health and variety of both plants and animals (including the welfare of farmed and wild creatures), protect natural resources such as water and soil, and help tackle climate change.
- Data for the report is compiled in partnership with Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative, Capital Growth (part of Sustain), Living Wage Foundation, Fairtrade Foundation, Procurement Across London, Sustainable Fish Cities (part of Susstain), Compassion in World Farming, Healthier Catering Commitment, SUGAR SMART, Sustainable Food Cities, Healthy Schools London and the Soil Association. In addition, every council receives a questionnaire to provide additional information on what actions they are taking. The data is then analysed and mapped to illustrate which boroughs are leading the way and where there is room for improvement.
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