Aberdeen joins leading movement to transform its food economy

Aberdeen is the latest city to join the fastest growing social movement in the UK – the Sustainable Food Cities network (SFC).

Aberdeen City Council will take the lead on a new initiative for the city to tackle issues of food poverty, diet-related ill health, obesity and barriers to healthy food all the while promoting the creation of a sustainable food economy and vibrant food culture through public, private and third sector partnerships alongside Aberdeenshire Council.

Councillors of the Finance, Policy and Resources committee approved recommendations to join the SFC which will create funding opportunities and access to resources for the local authority as it develops a new food policy.

With 46 towns and cities, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, already signed up, members of the SFC have been leading the way in transforming communities through hard-hitting targeted campaigns and action plans.

An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman for the initiative Councillor Lesley Dunbar hailed the initiative the start of major change for Aberdeen.

Councillor Dunbar said: “Over the past few years, Aberdeen has seen a renewed interest in healthy and sustainable food from a growth in the number of community owned allotments and market stalls to our own award-winning catering staff who use local, seasonal and organic ingredients to create healthy, freshly prepared meals for school children.

“However, changes to our main industry have led to higher unemployment rates and as such we have seen increasing dependency on our foodbanks as families struggle to pay bills and make ends meet.

“Rising costs of food along with difficulty simply accessing affordable and nutritious food create additional challenges for the poorest in our communities.

“Becoming a member of the Sustainable Food Network this year is perfect timing as we aim to join the Beyond the Foodbank campaign and create a dynamic and focussed action plan to develop access to healthy meals and educational workshops which centre on the importance of food.

“We now also have the opportunity to develop the interest in sustainable and healthy food by promoting a new food and drink culture in partnership with other organisations using a multi-agency approach which will drive inward investment, encourage tourism and offer an alternative cultural experience to the people of Aberdeen.”

A Sustainable Food Project Coordinator will be appointed to lead the initiative which will also tie in the Council’s priority objectives for the next five years to encourage community empowerment and regeneration as set out in the Local Outcome Improvement Plan