Leeds Hosts a Low Carbon Lunch

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.

There were also Low Carbon Lunch events hosted in the community by Zest LeedsSpace2 and Gipton Fire Station using produce grown on site by members of the Gipton Growers gardening group.