Experts in public health and sustainability recently came together to share their research and discuss the future of local food at a special event at the University of Huddersfield.
Sixty people attended the ‘Future of Local Food’ event on 15 February where they heard from two prestigious speakers and had the opportunity to network and discuss future possibilities of working together within our district.
Dr John Lever – Senior Lecturer in Sustainability, University of Huddersfield presented ‘Developing a Strong and Sustainable Food Economy in Kirklees’ and Mat Jones – Associate Professor of Public Health, University of the West of England presented ‘Understanding the Social Value of the Food for Life Programme in Kirklees’.
The Kirklees Food Strategy vision promotes; ‘good, safe, affordable, accessible, sustainable, local food for people no matter where they live, or how old they are.’ Those who attended heard how locally produced food can support healthier choices and small businesses across our area. For example, the Food for Life Programme in schools generates £5 for our local economy from every £1 invested. Over half of our district’s schools have signed up to Food for Life and children in these schools eat a healthier diet rich in fruit and vegetables.
Councillor Viv Kendrick, our cabinet member for Prevention, Early Intervention and Vulnerable Adults said:
In times of austerity I am proud that Kirklees is looking at how we can sustain food activity in the future, building on community assets and partnerships to lead the way in promoting good food for people across the life course and in a wide range of settings including early years, schools, hospitals and care settings.”
Tony Cooke, our Head of Health Improvement said:
In Kirklees, more than two thirds of adults (65.7%) and a third of children by Year 6 are overweight or obese. This problem is linked to people not eating a healthy diet and not doing enough exercise and physical activity. The launch of these research papers will influence how the council and its partners begin to transport our local food culture into one that supports healthy choices and promotes a good diet for children and adults.”
Dr John Lever who is also a member of the Centre for Sustainable & Resilient Communities at the University of Huddersfield’s Business School said:
There are many tensions in the conventional food system that contribute towards public health problems and the future resilience of local communities. The many food projects already operating in Kirklees provide the foundations on which Kirklees can move towards a more resilient and sustainable future.”