Councils with Food Champions and Food Partnerships are better placed to fight food poverty at a local level. Now, with the Food Justice Finder, you can search to find out whether your local council has taken these crucial steps towards food justice.
Based on newly collected FOI data and research covering England, Wales and Scotland, the Finder spotlights and congratulates councils who have a Champion and Partnership, and helps members of the public engage with councils who haven't yet taken both steps.
Local councils are doing extraordinary work and fighting food poverty on multiple fronts, from providing free school meals to supporting food banks. This tool helps ensure that work is getting the publicity and support from the local community that it needs and deserves. The burden of solving food poverty shouldn't be falling on our overstretched communities and underfunded councils, but while it does, we hope to help them battle food poverty is the most effective way possible.
The coronavirus crisis and the extraordinary campaign by Marcus Rashford has brought the issue of food poverty to the fore, but our communities were starving for food justice long before the pandemic hit. This issue is not going away: with a second lockdown looming and Christmas just weeks away, communities are preparing for the worst. You can help your council and your community now by using the Food Justice Finder now, because for too many, finding food justice has never been more important.
We know that for overstretched councils, it's easy for issues like food poverty to fall between the cracks because responsibility for tackling it is split across different councillors, teams or departments.
By appointing a "lead member" for food poverty, you create a Food Champion: a point person who can draw together different work streams in a council, track progress and be a single point of contact for helpful external organisations like community kitchens or food banks.
Food partnerships link up local government with local community organisations – so that food banks, community kitchens and other amazing initiatives get all the support they need.
Councils and communities are often independently doing amazing work to alleviate food poverty in their area: but we know they're stronger when they work together. Existing food partnerships, from Bangor to Brighton, have had a transformational effect on food poverty in their areas.
The Co-operative Party has produced a guide for Councillors to help them work towards the actions in their council, and read about best practice across the country. You can download the guide here.
Our database is based on two sets of Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests sent to upper tier councils in England in November 2018 and again in August 2020, asking whether they had a Lead Member for food poverty and / or worked with a Food Partnership. If a council did not respond to the 2020 FOI request, the 2018 data was used. Data on Scottish and Welsh councils was based on publically available information and research. If you need to update the progress of your council, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.