Agenda item


            Ms. Quigley informed the Committee that food production had a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions and equated to 35% from the food and drink industry. She stated that the demand for food was increasing, including the global impact of food scarcity. The Members were informed that the issue of food nutrition and obesity had been identified as a major problem for many European nations and that access to good quality food was not distributed equally in the UK. Ms. Quigley reported that access to cheap fast food was more readily available in socially deprived areas.


            The Committee was informed the work surrounding sustainability and food was one of the actions contained within the Resilience Strategy and that, in 2021, the Council had signed up to the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration. The Declaration provided a commitment by local authorities and regional governments to tackle the climate emergency, through integrated food policies, with a call on national governments to take affirmative action.


            The Members were informed of the work undertaken by the Belfast Food Network with support from Belfast City Council and with the remit to improve access to healthy, local fresh food in the city and to build community wealth in a way that addressed the climate emergency. To that end, she reported that the Council had been asked to establish a new community food partnership.


            Ms. Quigley explained that the Sustainable Food Partnership was people focussed with an ethos based on the notion that people had the right to gain access to good nutritional food. She highlighted the need to empower people to access food systems, including a vision to transform food systems that protect national resources for future generations, and which was both economically and environmentally sustainable. To that end, she referred also to the importance attached to the provision of good food options.


            She highlighted the work undertaken, as part of the sustainable food economy, manifesting itself with such initiatives as food cooperatives, enabling lower income households to access climate and nature friendly food. In terms of catering and procurement food policy, she highlighted the important work undertaken by the Council in that regard and the need to offer plant-based food alternatives, including sourcing food with a short supply chain. The Committee was informed that food insecurity was an increasing challenge and provided the Members with an overview of the governance structure associated with the food partnership.


            Ms. Quigley referred to several successes associated with the food partnership, including, amongst other things, the establishment of an open food network for sharing ideas, learning and creating opportunities, including a public event which had been held in June 2023.


            The Committee was requested to allocate £30,000, from within existing budgets, to develop a food strategy and vision, including a city-wide and communication plan.


            After discussion it was


            Proposed by Councillor Smyth,

            Seconded by Councillor Carson and


      Resolved – that the Committee agrees to the allocation of £30,000, from within the City and Neighbourhood Services budget, to develop a food strategy, including a comprehensive city-wide and communication plan as part of the Council’s food strategy and vision.


            The Committee recognised also the need to support local communities in the creation of social supermarkets and to engage with both schools and young people as part of a food strategy for the city and to address those areas which lead to the elimination of food poverty.




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