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University of Greenwich healthy food initiative

28th January 2022

Healthy food initiative led by the University of Greenwich to help 25,000 people

The University of Greenwich is leading a partnership which aims to bring healthy, sustainable food to 25,000 people – around 5% of the population - in Kent and Medway

Worth £530k, the Kent and Medway Partnership for Enterprise, Food and Health launched on 2nd January 2022. It will see the University partner up with councils in Gravesham, Medway and Swale.

The partnership aims to radically strengthen the local capacity to grow and process good food at affordable prices, which will create healthy communities and wealthy economies in a sustainable manner.

It will include:

  • A community facility, where local communities learn the value of nutritious food
  • A business support facility with links to other initiatives including the ‘Growing Kent and Medway’ project, with a mentoring programme and an ‘Impact Investment Fund’, supporting investment in zero carbon and sustainable technologies
  • A market space, where producers showcase their products

Dr Nazanin Zand, Associate Professor in Food and Nutrition at the university, is leading the initiative, she says: “This is an inclusive partnership built around consensus, coherence, inclusivity and connectivity. We will look to build partnerships that strengthen local capacity to grow, process and use healthy food. Our innovation is bringing change through structured consultation and deliberation that is applied more broadly on the interface between health, business and skills.”

Dr Zand is working with colleagues Dr Carol Ford, Dr Conor Walsh, Dr Ola Ogunyinka and Caroline Troy on the project, which is one of 10 in Kent awarded a total of £6.8 million. The Kent and Medway Partnership for Enterprise, Food and Health has received £528,714 from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

This project is all about partnership and collaboration and Dr Zand and her colleagues are proud to be teaming up with the University of Kent, Social Enterprise Kent, Produced in Kent, Medway Community Healthcare, Medway Food Partnership to make this happen.

Dr Zand says: “We want to build partnerships so we can influence the business process towards sustainability and zero carbon. We are promoting community access to locally acceptable, affordable and healthy foods, and aiming to influence communities to live healthier lives, and work within an inclusive social enterprise.”

The scheme runs until June 2022 and is the only one to be successful in two council areas: Gravesham and Swale in Kent, and Medway borough. Dr Zand adds, “We are very grateful to the councils and central government for giving us the chance to make this happen. The market space will complement and add value to existing initiatives, such as the Gravesend Borough Market, the Kent County Show and the numerous farmers‘ markets that already take place in the area.“

“We will build on our expertise and the experience of our partners in food, health and environment, to find areas of mutually vested interests and to develop plans that meet the needs of all, inclusively, in a coordinated and consistent fashion. In short, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

The project aims to establish a Kent Food Standard, addressing quality, sustainability and nutrition, while securing initial and ongoing investment, to go with the government award.

This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

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