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Sustainable Food Places

16th November 2023

Kent Food Partnership wins national recognition as a Sustainable Food Place

The Kent Food Partnership (KFP), initiated by Produced in Kent, has achieved membership of the Sustainable Food Places, a national network funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and National Lottery Community Fund, comprising of 100+ cross-sector partnerships in towns, cities, boroughs and counties that use food as a vehicle for driving positive change.

Regional partnerships within the network endeavor to make local, healthy and sustainable food widely accessible, and become an inspirational example of how communities, businesses and the Council can work together in making affordable good food a defining characteristic of their area.

Leon Ballin, Sustainable Food Places Programme Manager, says:

We found Kent Food Partnership’s membership application exemplary across many levels and are really looking forward to seeing how the work develops and momentum builds. We felt their draft strategy demonstrated clarity and ambition and appreciated the participatory process and approach in its development, for example working with excellent representation across the food system at the Kent Food Summit. We applaud the attention to inclusion and diversity as the partnership grows.

Lead agencies Produced in Kent and Social Enterprise Kent established the Kent Food Partnership in January 2023, bringing representatives of local Government, public health, education, industry and community food initiatives around the table to tackle some of biggest social, economic and environmental issues today, from an epidemic of food poverty and diet related ill-health and the loss of independent high street food businesses as well as family farms through to climate change, biodiversity loss and food waste.

Chair of the Kent Food Partnership, and CEO of national food policy group The Food Foundation, Anna Taylor says:

Kent, the Garden of England, has a growing national and international profile as a hub of incredible food and drink. Yet at the same time, it is home to some of the most deprived areas in the UK with child obesity levels that exceed the national average. Numerous individuals, community groups, local councils and businesses are working incredibly hard to improve access to healthy and sustainably produced food for everyone, but we need to better understand what is being done and how we can join forces. It is the role of the Kent Food Partnership to connect the dots: to bring all stakeholders together, encourage collaborations, spark synergy, develop best practice and influence strategic policy development.

In the past 11 months the partnership Steering Group and its 5 working groups have been meeting regularly to draft the Kent Food Strategy, which sets out the longer-term goals to ultimately achieve a fairer and more accessible food system for all in Kent. The draft was presented to a 100+ cross-sector audience of Kent food stakeholders at the inaugural Kent Food Summit in October and is currently in its final consultation phase. The strategy is expected to be made public in January 2024.

Kent County Council Leader Roger Gough fully supports the partnership’s ambitious aims:

Because of its geography and sunny climate, Kent’s food and drink offering is incredibly diverse: we grow the most fruit in the country, next to other fresh produce, cereals, livestock and fish. We have a thriving community of producers and independent retail, and a growing reputation for culinary excellence. Food touches upon all aspects in our life, brings communities together and can be a channel through which wider socio-economic issues can be addressed. Our county can be a shining example of how an efficient food system can positively impact the local economy, the environment as well as the health and cohesion of our community. Working closely together with Medway Food Partnership, it is the Kent Food Partnership’s aim to make that change happen.

For more information about the Kent Food Partnership, and how to get involved, please go visit sustainablefoodplaces.org/members/kent