Edinburgh has been awarded silver status by the Sustainable Food Places Network, in recognition of the city’s pioneering work to promote healthy and sustainable food.
The award bid was led by Edible Edinburgh – a city-wide partnership building new approaches to food in the capital – and saw the city judged on six themes: healthy and sustainable food, food poverty, the local food economy, community activity, public sector food and waste.
The capital is one of just two cities in Scotland to gain silver status which recognises the scale and ambition of the food related activities undertaken in the city since 2019, when Edinburgh achieved the bronze award.
Some of these activities include:
- Providing 65,000 free, fresh and nutritious meals for those most in need during the coronavirus pandemic through the Food For Good Coalition – helping to raise awareness of food poverty in the city.
- Signing the Glasgow Food Declaration – a commitment to put food at the centre of Edinburgh’s response to the climate and biodiversity emergencies – and raise awareness of the vital role food plays in meeting net zero targets and protecting nature, as well as helping to reduce poverty, inequality and poor health.
- Launching a Sustainable Food Directory, through Edible Edinburgh. The directory is currently building its membership and aims to showcase the best places to find local, sustainable food across the city.
- Through Edinburgh’s first growing strategy, Growing Locally, committing to increasing participation in food growing activity in the city through allotment and community growing spaces, growing in schools and in city parks.
Cammy Day, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said:
Food has a pivotal role to play in helping to meet our key priorities to end poverty, become a net zero city and promote wellbeing and equality for all our residents. This was made especially clear during my visit to food charity Empty Kitchens Full Hearts yesterday (Wednesday) and hearing of the local need and impact of affordable and nutritious food.
From our award-winning restaurants and food retailers, to our thriving community growing spaces, there are hundreds of initiatives running right across the city helping to contribute to our vibrant food economy.
It’s a credit to all these amazing people and groups that Edinburgh has gained a silver award, helping to show it is a place where people really care about healthy and sustainable food.
I’m proud that, together with Edible Edinburgh, we’re creating the right conditions for these activities to thrive and deliver real benefits to those most in need of our support.
Brenda Black, Chief Executive Officer, Edinburgh Community Food said: Edinburgh Community Food are delighted to be part of the successful city-wide Edible Edinburgh partnership to achieve the silver award.
The award is clear recognition of the commitment, co-operation and hard work of the citizens, communities, council, and businesses to improve Edinburgh’s food system.
Achieving the award during a global pandemic and facing the challenges of rising cost of living has been a remarkable achievement.
We look forward to continuing the journey to build a strong sustainable food system that provides healthier food and healthier lives for the people of Edinburgh.
Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink, said:
Across Scotland, we are lucky to have a fantastic array of produce with some of the finest natural resources, and protecting the sector for the long term is a fundamental priority across our industry.
The food and drink sector has a key role to play in the transition to a more sustainable and inclusive world, and awards like this go a long way in recognising the work of individuals and groups that are leading the way for change.
Congratulations to all involved for a tremendous collaborative effort.
Other key projects which demonstrate the work Edinburgh has done to become a sustainable food city include:
- Promoting healthy eating through schools using campaigns such as the annual Veg Power and Veg Cities campaigns, Fizz Free February, Meat Free Mondays and the Soil Association’s Food For Life Served Here campaign
- Providing nutritional information, budgeting and specialist food guidance to targeted community groups benefitting up to 80 households during 12-week programmes, through Edinburgh Community Food.
- Offering affordable, fresh, local food to 8 communities through community cafes which also provide training and support, benefitting over 80 staff and volunteers.
- Cookery classes, food pantry and supper clubs to support new tenants with a cooker; benefitting up to 50 new tenancies annually with help to budget, and cook healthy meals.
- Community cooking school which works with hard-to-reach, vulnerable groups, including homeless people to deliver food related support through Cyrenians Community Cook School, including courses on budgeting and cooking skills.