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News - 16 April 2005

Brighton focuses on food

Plans to make healthy and nutritious food more easily available to the whole community were discussed by the council's Policy & Resources committee when it met on 13 April.

A food strategy for the city is being drawn up and will be published later this year. It is the product of two years joint working between the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, the Primary Care Trust and the council's Sustainability Commission.

The aims are to:

  • make Brighton & Hove a healthier city
  • ensure all our residents have access to safe, healthy and affordable food
  • increase awareness of production of food and its role in supporting health, the economy and the environment
  • improve cooking and hygiene training in the local catering industries
  • support local restaurants, farmers and shops
  • encourage people to buy locally
  • increase awareness of food transportation issues - if the food for your Sunday roast has come from the other side of the world, it could have travelled more than 32,000 miles, producing 22,000 grammes of CO2 emissions. If bought locally the emissions would be less than 60 grammes.

The plan also focuses on concerns about obesity (22% of British children are now considered to be obese), and the strong links between diet and life threatening illness. Recent figures show that diet accounts for 30% of the risk factors for heart disease and cancer.

Ideas include setting up cookery classes for community groups, supporting food growing projects, and giving residents the chance to enjoy growing, cooking and eating healthy food. Vegetable box schemes and farmers markets would be encouraged, and the council will continue to back Fairtrade products.

Locally the council has been hard at work increasing the nutritional value of school meals. Turkey twizzlers were banned six months ago.

The food strategy also looks at other environmental impacts of food such as: exploring ways to reduce, re-use and recycle waste through composting and cutting down on packaging, and reducing the distances food travels before it reaches our tables.

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