Food Justice Finder is an initiative of the co-operative movement, bringing together the work of several co-operative societies and the movement’s Party in order to push forward our collective work in fighting food insecurity. The Food Justice Finder is made up of several tools and actions.
Food Champions Search Tool
Councils with Food Champions and Food Partnerships are better placed to fight food poverty at a local level. Now, with the Food Justice Finder Food Champions Search Tool, you can search to find out whether your local council has taken these crucial steps towards food justice.
Based on 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. 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.
What is a Food Champion?
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.
What is a Food Partnership?
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.
Help for councillors
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.
Healthy Start Uptake Tool
If you’re pregnant or have children under age four, you may be eligible for Healthy Start vouchers to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and milk at your local supermarket.
But despite the value of Healthy Start vouchers being boosted as part of Marcus Rashford’s #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY campaign, nearly 4 in 10 of those eligible aren’t signed up to the scheme. That means nearly £900K of food vouchers each week aren’t reaching those that need them most.
Our Healthy Start Uptake Tool makes the uptake data on Healthy Start searchable by postcode, allowing you to search for the uptake rate of Healthy Start vouchers in your area and take action by asking the relevant local authority to run promotional campaigns about this vital scheme.
Our Food Champions Search Tool database is based on three sets of Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests sent to upper tier councils in England and Wales in November 2018, August 2020 and June 2022, 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 2022 FOI request, 2020 or 2018 data was used. Data on Scottish councils was based on publicly available information and research. If you need to update the progress of your council, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Healthy Start Uptake Tool is based on data published by NHSBSA on the Healthy Start website.