FoodWise, Feed Leeds and Season Well hosted stalls at the Kinder Leeds Festival in November at Left Bank. It was an enjoyable day spent planting seeds with children, sharing homemade pumpkin and apple soup, making bouquet garni from foraged herbs and talking about the benefits of both growing and eating good local and seasonal food.
As part of #goodfoodstories Meet the Network we caught up with Rifhat Malik from Give a Gift before Christmas to learn more about Cultural Food Hubs.
Read on to hear what Rifhat has to say here!
Give a Gift is a small charity and we’ve been running for 10 years supporting communities. We work with partner organisations through a referral process, but when COVID hit we had to digress from what we were doing and support people with food provision.
The council had set up a food distribution centre but due to logistics, they weren’t able to cater for the diverse communities and their cultural and dietary requirements, which led to the inception of two cultural food hubs – Give a Gift and Hamara. The cultural food hubs were then able to provide culturally appropriate food packs to people.
Very, very positive. We started to deliver the cultural food packs to the various communities, such as Eastern European, South Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Caribbean and it has been very well received. We get a lot of positive feedback. It is important for people’s dignity that they can access culturally appropriate food.
The biggest challenge is that we’re getting a lot more people coming to us. Since the policy changes that have meant that asylum seekers and refugees are being dispersed from the hotels, we’ve been inundated with more and more people wanting to register for the cultural food hub. We’re also getting calls from schools wanting to register families – the demand is increasing.
During COVID, there were 33 Community Care hubs providing food aid. Since then, organisations have gone back to their core work, leaving 19 providers across the city, many providing a much reduced service. This has meant an increase in demand for not only cultural food hubs but all food aid providers due to the Cost of Living crisis.
In addition, the funding landscape is unsure. We’ve been well supported by the Council and VAL through the Household Support Fund, and we have good relationships wholesalers, but it is a challenge to meet the increasing demand.
Yes. We were nominated last year for the Queen’s Award but when the Queen passed away it changed to the King’s Award. I said to my husband wouldn’t it be nice if we were the first recipients of the King’s award. And yeah lo and behold it was announced last Tuesday!
So yes, we’re really excited about that. And to be honest with you, we’ve not really had time to digest it because we’re so front house and we’re operational, you don’t get a chance to chance to sit down and sort of take it all in. I’m hoping that it’ll actually open some doors for us. I think it will help with funding, as it will act like a stamp for accreditation.
To donate to Give a Gift https://giveagift.org.uk/about-us/
Feed Leeds is a sustainable food growing network – encouraging and connecting individuals, communities and organisations in Leeds. As part of our ambition to increase local food growing, we are celebrating the people and projects putting local food growing at the heart of what they do.
Join us in the inaugural Feed Leeds Local Food Growing Awards by nominating people and projects in the following 6 categories.
Nominations open until Monday 12 Feb.
Nominate inspiring individuals and project from across Leeds in the following categories:
- Most Enthusiastic Young Gardener – Feed Leeds wants to celebrate young people who are getting their hands dirty and learning to grow food. This can be in their own, school or community garden. Tell us about the young people in Leeds making a difference.
- Outstanding Community Champion – We know that success of community gardening projects depends on the commitment of individuals who turn up each week with enthusiasm to learn, share, encourage and engage others in getting involved with food growing. Let us know who you are nominating as your local community champion.
- Best Food Growing Initiative – We want to celebrate food growing initiatives across the city and to celebrate their successes. Tell us about your community or school garden or orchards, your market garden, CSA or other food growing enterprise. Tell us what you have achieved so far and any future plans. We want to plant the seeds for local food growing in every community in Leeds!
- Best Food Growing Project Supporting Sustainability and Resilience – Amid concerns for the climate emergency and increasing inequality, Feed Leeds wants to showcase the very best in community food growing in Leeds. We are looking for food growing projects that are helping communities become more sustainable and resilient. It could be a project that supplies fresh produce to local food banks or community kitchens, a community orchard or community garden that teaches people to grow and harvest their own fruit and vegetables. Tell us how your project helps others.
- Best Local Business Supporting Local Sustainable Food Growing – Local businesses and restaurants can play an integral role in supporting local food growing initiatives, helping them to grow and be financially viable. Feed Leeds wants to discover which businesses are supporting local food growing initiatives and celebrate their vision and commitment to supporting the Leeds local food network.
- Best Community Composting Group – Composting food scraps is a great way to reduce carbon emissions and return nutrients back to the soil. Community composting is on the rise and Feed Leeds is keen to find the best community composting group in Leeds. Composting groups can be with neighbours, via the Share Waste app, at school or a community gardening project. Let us know who is leading the way through composting!
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 29th of Sept, FoodWise Leeds and Leeds City Council hosted the ‘Leeds Low Carbon Lunch’ at Kirkgate Market. The event was part of the Sustainable Food Places day of action for commitments to the Glasgow Food & Climate Declaration, of which Leeds was an early signatory.
The event brought together partners across the food system in Leeds including the City Council, FoodWise Leeds, University of Leeds, FairShare Yorkshire, ReThink Food, Feed Leeds, Zero Waste Leeds, Swarthmore College and the Ministry of Food.
Food Champion Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung announced a trio of commitments to reduce the impact of food procured across the Council’s services.
- Buy local, serve local. We’ll increasingly source more of the food we serve from producers based in Yorkshire and surrounding counties, to support local businesses and cut food miles.
- Ban air-freighted imports. Where we use ingredients that can’t be produced locally, we’ll reduce the impact of transporting it by using boat, road or rail
- Halve the carbon footprint of meals served by 2030. We’ll review and update all of the meals we serve to cut their environmental impact, without sacrificing flavour, variety or nutrients.
These pledges are significant as Leeds is the first local authority to make such commitments. They build on the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration – a commitment signed by Leeds and many other cities and local areas around the globe to tackle the climate emergency through integrated food policies and a call on national governments to act.
The reductions in emissions will be calculated from the 2019 baseline by a team of academics from the Consumer Data Research Centre at Leeds University. The data will provide catering staff with an easy way to compare carbon footprints of meals and enable them to adjust menus to achieve the desired reduction in carbon emissions.
FoodWise is pleased to announce the Building Food Resilience Toolkit is now available to download!
The toolkit introduces the idea of ‘building food resilience’ and provides an overview of options available for people who require food access support. It also offers useful information and signposting advice to help organisations explore people’s longer-term food options and to deliver effective food aid provision.
The toolkit has been co-produced with food aid providers, building upon existing partnerships to ensure a city-wide approach to providing compassionate, practical help to support people who are experiencing food insecurity, to build resilience, so they are less likely to need food support in the future.
Here is the press release:
Bronze Birthday Present for Leeds Food Partnership
After just one year, the Leeds Food Partnership (LFP) is celebrating winning a prestigious accolade, The Sustainable Food Cities Bronze award.
Set up in 2018, the partnership celebrates good food and helps address health inequalities by reducing food poverty, supporting local food businesses, reducing the environmental impact of food, influencing the trade and consumption of food and promoting growing and cooking skills.
The LFP is delivered by Leeds City Council, the University of Leeds, and a range of local food networks, businesses, NGOs and community partners.
Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“This is a great recognition for a really important cross-sector partnership of public agencies, businesses, and academics in Leeds, helping us agree a city vision for food and develop a food action plan which doesn’t just improve nutrition, but also builds into our vision of a more sustainable environment and climate.
“We’re working hard to make it easier for people in Leeds to have access to healthier food which doesn’t cost the earth, so they can benefit from the benefit of better nutrition.”
Sonja Woodcock, Sustainable Food Cities Co-ordinator, said:
“The partnership is raising the profile and exploring solutions to food issues, including promoting healthy and sustainable food, tackling food poverty, diet-related ill health and access to affordable healthy food and building community food knowledge, skills, resources and projects.
“Working together we’re keen to promote a vibrant, diverse and sustainable food economy, while helping transform catering and food procurement, reducing both waste and the ecological footprint of the food system.”
Professor Les Firbank, University of Leeds, said:
“Food is both at the core of some of the city’s biggest challenges, but also a vital part of solutions. The evidence-based, partnership approach recognises food action is needed and we are glad to be working alongside partners to help make the most of this.
“The LFP is just one of a range of positive health and nutrition areas of work across the city which is attracting attention for delivering positive outcomes. The award will help us to target obesity, other diet-related ill-health, nutritional care, poverty and waste; promote businesses, innovation, and food tourism, as well as linking to climate change, urban sustainability and public safety.”
Tom Bliss, Chair of Feed Leeds, said:
“It’s been a long journey since Feed Leeds, which represents community food growing across the city, kick-started the creation of the LFP back in 2012, and we’re hugely proud and delighted to see Leeds rightfully recognised as a leading Food City. But we’re not resting on our laurels! We’re confident that Leeds is already a long way towards Silver – so watch this space!”
Sustainable Food Cities is a nation-wide initiative which promotes cross-sector partnerships of local public agencies, businesses, academics and NGOs who are committed to working together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live. The Sustainable Food Cities Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate the success of those places taking a joined up, holistic approach to food, and that are achieving significant positive change on a range of key food issues.
Key Project areas:
The recently launched “Food Wise Leeds” campaign, promoting food action in the city.
The Refill campaign – a grassroots movement which aims to reduce plastic pollution at source by making it easier for people to reuse and refill their bottle with free tap water, rather than buying a new one.
The Sustainable Fish Cities pledge organised by conservation and sustainable food organisations. The pledge encourages buying, serving and promoting only sustainable fish.
The national Out to Lunch campaign led by the Soil Association aims to make it easier for families to eat healthy food outside of the home in restaurants and visitor attractions.
Increasing vegetable consumption, with The Soil Association’s Veg Cities campaign and the new Veg Power “Eat them to defeat them” advertising aim to increase vegetable consumption nationally.
Leeds Rotters – a city-wide composting initiative.