Section 1 – Executive Summarynew logo

Strategy and Vision

Priorities – Addressing Local Need

1 – Strengthening the Belfast Food Network Working Group
2 – Promoting a Healthy and Sustainable Diet Working Group
3 – Tackling Food Poverty and Diet Related Ill Health Working Group
4 – Building Community Food Skills and Knowledge Working Group

Section 2 – Action Plangood food

1 – Strengthening the Belfast Food Network (BFN)
2 – Promoting a Healthy and Sustainable Diet Working Group (PWG)
3 – Tackling Food Poverty and Diet Related Ill Health Working Group (FPWG)
4 – Building Community Food Skills and Knowledge Working Group (CSWG)
5 – Supporting a Diverse Sustainable Food Economy (FEWG)
6 – Transforming catering and food procurement (CPWG)
7 – Reducing waste and the ecological footprint of the food system (WWG)


Section 1 – Executive Summary

Strategy and Vision  

Across the globe, communities at every scale have recognised the key role food can play in dealing with some of today’s most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges and are taking a joined up approach to transforming their food culture and food system.

From obesity and diet-related ill-health to food poverty and waste, climate change and biodiversity loss to declining prosperity and social dislocation, food is not only at the heart of some of our greatest problems but is also a vital part of the solution.

The Sustainable Food Cities approach has enabled Belfast to develop a pro-active cross-sector partnership of local public agencies, businesses and NGOs committed to working together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of our city. Food is being recognised as a fundamental human right that can act as a catalyst for real social change.

The Belfast Food Network (BFN) was established in March 2014, as a three-year project of Sustainable NI, to work towards making Belfast a Sustainable Food City for the benefit of our communities, our economy and our environment.

The BFN is a founding member of the pioneering, and rapidly growing, Sustainable Food Cities Network, which is an alliance of public, private, community and voluntary sector organisations that believe wholeheartedly in the power of food as a vehicle for driving positive change.

The purpose of the Belfast Food Network is to work with partners to:

  • Promote a greater appreciation of the role and importance of healthy and sustainable food – fresh, local, seasonal – amongst the public, policy-makers and institutions.
  • Inspire key organisations to work individually and together to link initiatives around sustainable food to drive positive social, economic and environmental change.
  • Develop our broad cross-sector partnership to involve public sector bodies, the community and voluntary sector and local businesses which will work together to establish a successful Sustainable Food City in Belfast.

‘Food that’s good for people is good for the planet is at the heart of the Belfast Food Network’s ethos, we are striving to get good food to everybody in this beautifully complicated city.

BFN Priorities – Addressing Local Need

1 – Strengthening the Belfast Food Network (SBFNWG)

The BFN held a development day in July 2015 with 60 network members to discuss the future of the BFN. The group discussed priority streams of work for the working groups, strengthening community relationships, where the BFN would be best situated and the long term financial sustainability of the BFN. A funding sub group has been set up and specific actions identified to work towards securing the long term future of the BFN and strengthening its position in Belfast as the one stop shop for food related activity in the city.

2 – Promoting a Healthy and Sustainable Diet (PWG, FEWG, CPWG, WWG)

Actively increasing the public’s understanding of the importance and relevance of a healthy and sustainable diet underpins all of the BFNs activities. By increasing the number of people using the BFN social media feeds and website we will be reaching a broader audience and engaging interested individuals and groups in a pro-active solution based dialogue. We will redraft the BFN Charter to reflect current activities and secure public pledges from 50 organisations and 100 individuals to increase the number of practical actions being publicly implemented in support of our work. The PWG will focus on building on the existing reputation of the BFN and helping to develop its communication channels to become the one stop shop for food related activity in the city.

3 – Tackling Food Poverty and Diet Related Ill Health Working Group (FPWG, WWG)

Food poverty is a serious issue in Belfast, ten food banks currently provide emergency food supplies to thousands of people annually, with usage increasing year on year. The FPWG is leading the work on food poverty across the city, the group will promote the Enough is Enough Scoping Survey report to relevant organisations and public bodies to increase understanding of the issue.  Resources will be sought to fully complete the second phase of the Enough is Enough project, which focused on the effects of sanctions and building a collaborative city wide response. The third phase will be developed to focus on the working poor, the highest proportion of people accessing food banks.  The work of the WWG will include addressing food waste to improve diets and affordability of good food.

4 – Building Community Food Skills and Knowledge Working Group (CSWG, WWG)

Many people in Belfast know very little about their food, where it comes from, how it is grown, how to store it or even how to cook it, how to save money by reducing food waste; not to mention issues of nutrition and health. Many people have failed to develop these skills as food knowledge has been eroded across generations over the years. The CSWG will develop an accredited training course called Eat Well, Spend Less with local community and voluntary groups and organisations to help increase community food skills and knowledge. The CSWG hopes to improve people’s lives by increasing access to and involvement in engaging, meaningful and relevant food education activities across the city. By increasing people’s knowledge and understanding of food related issues we will be enabling people to make fully informed choices about their diets.

Section 2 – Action Plan

Priority 1 – Strengthening the Belfast Food Network

Background: The existence of the network has helped many groups to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, through the subgroups, resulting in better outcomes associated with relieving food poverty, reducing food waste and encouraging better nutrition. The network has successfully obtained additional funding from competitive sources through working in partnership with many of the members organisations. It has also established itself as a credible and trusted source of advice for many organisations. The Advisory Group has recognised the importance in securing the long term sustainability of the BFN, to enable future growth and build on the good reputation that the BFN has gained since it was set up in March 2014.

Outcome: Belfast Food Network secures long term role in the city, as the one stop shop for food related activities across the city

Lead: BFN Advisory Group

Indicator: Belfast Food Network is recognised as the centre of food excellence in the city, built on solid financial sustainability

Theme Key actions Lead Timescale Resource Outcome
Secure Long Term Host for BFN Explore new hosting opportunities for the Belfast Food Network SNI BoardBFN Advisory Group July – Dec 2015 BFN Secure suitable long term host for BFN
Explore options such as Belfast Healthy Cities, NIEL, Food NI BFN Coordinator July – Dec 2015 BFN Greater understanding of potential hosting options
Present agreed Proposal Papers to the Boards of relevant organisations for discussions BFN Coordinator Nov 2015 – Jan 2016 BFN Agreement from proposed host organisations Boards
Secure agreement from SNI Board and BFN Advisory Group BFN Coordinator March 2016 BFN Agreement from SNI Board and BFN Advisory Group to proceed
Move BFN to new host to enable long term funding to be sought BFN Advisory Group March 2016 BFN Move completed
Long term Financial Sustainability of BFN Explore options for long term funding of BFN including social economy model, core statutory funding, collaborative funding bids, sponsorship BFN Funding Sub-Group Sept 2015 – March 2016 BFN Funding options researched and opportunities presented
Funding opportunities collated, agreed options presented to BFN Advisory Group BFN Funding Sub-Group March 2016 BFN Funding options agreed by BFN Advisory Group
Work to secure agreed funding options, developing appropriate partnerships BFN Funding Sub-Group March 2016 – March 2017 BFN Funding actively sought, and hopefully secured
Increase Membership and support local initiatives Hold a series of BFN ‘Soups’ to increase BFN membership and raise funds for small local initiatives – six groups per event BFN Coordinator Dec 2015June 2016Dec 2016June 2017

Dec 2017

BFN Increased membership and funding to local groups

Priority 2 – Promoting a Healthy and Sustainable Diet Working Group (PWG)

Background:       Through a series of collaborations, there have been numerous campaigns around aspects of healthy eating. Under the umbrella of the regional strategy to tackle obesity, the city’s agencies and NGOs have delivered significant interventions on breastfeeding, school food, food labelling schemes, cooking skills development and many other targeted healthy food initiatives.

Belfast Food Network has an identifiable logo, a ‘corporate’ style and a lively presence on social media, as well as its own website ( The website has a regular stream of users, the Facebook and Twitter support is growing every month (currently 1691 followers on Twitter, 574 Facebook Likes). We have an active membership base of some 350 people. Our first quarterly newsletter was published. The Network’s ambitions are captured in its Charter but it will be reviewed to make it more accessible to a range of stakeholders and secure pledges for action from participating organisations, businesses and individuals. We have further increased the profile of the Belfast Food Network through our presence at a number of fairs and other events.

The Network has been featured in a number of press articles and radio interviews; we have also contributed articles to several other publications, including an extended feature for the much-praised Freckle magazine. We have also published several documents, including a Sustainable Food Directory and an examination of the extent of food poverty responses in Belfast.

These elements should meet the criteria for the Bronze level of the Sustainable Food City awards under themes 1, 4 & 5 (above).

The purpose of this action plan is to stimulate the necessary additional activities that will be needed to move towards reaching the standards necessary for the Silver award. Without relinquishing responsibility for further activities under the three Bronze themes, we will focus our attention on three additional themes over the next year.

We will expand the membership of the working group, seeking additional representatives from the appropriate disciplines to facilitate the delivery of this plan. We will also finalise a communications plan from an initial commissioned draft.

Outcomes:            1 – Equal access for everybody in Belfast to information on a healthy sustainable diet, enabling people to make informed food choices

                                  2 – Increasing No. of Early Years settings implementing Nutrition Matters for the Early Years

                                  3 More people are joining the BFN and actively engaging in communication feeds

Lead:                        Convener of Working Group Prof. Jim Kitchen, Sustainable NI

Indicator:               Increase in number of people reporting eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. 

Theme Key actions Lead Timescale Resource Outcome
Develop Working Group Expand the Issue Working Group with representatives from appropriate disciplines to facilitate the delivery of this plan.  JK Dec 2015 PWG Co-ordinated delivery of working groups action plan
Develop a Strategic Communications Plan JK Jan 2016 BFN Agreed Strategic Communications plan to be delivered by BFN Working Groups
Healthy eating campaigns, aiming to change public behaviour, are being delivered.  Compliance with the under-5s food strategy, Nutrition Matters for the Early Years, is being monitored & training provided PHA Oct 2016 PWG No. of Early Years settings implementing Nutrition Matters for the Early YearsNo. of people accessing training courses in Belfast recorded
Campaign to promote more public consumption of sustainable food is being delivered  2016 – NI Year of Food – Local and Global promotion of local produce Food NI Jan-Dec 2016 NI Assembly Increased local and global knowledge of local produce across the province
At least 5 Fairtrade Fortnight events are organised in Belfast BCC March 2016 BCC No. of events held and attendee numbers recorded
Review of the Belfast Food Network Charter BFN Charter: Review the Charter’s themes to reflect the six SFC issues JK Feb 2016 BFN Readily Accessible Charter added to website
Secure pledges from 50 organisations and 100 individuals to take specific practical actions in support of BFN’s ambitions JK Sept 2016 BFN No. of practical actions being publicly implementedBuild reputation of the BFN
The Belfast Food Network brand continues to be promoted to the public The BFN website is reviewed and, where possible, refreshed JK March 2016 PWG Daily usage of website increases
Social Media followers are increased significantly through regular traffic: Twitter to 2300; Facebook to 1000 JK Oct 2016 PWG Audience for good food messaging increasing
Public understanding of food, health and sustainability issues is being raised through a variety of communications tools BFN website is regularly updated with news articles and opinion pieces, sourced from Network members JK/PWG Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFN BFN website becomes the one stop shop for food related info in the city
BFN social media promote partners’ events, reports, initiatives and relevant press materials JK Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFN Increasing No. of partners regularly providing info.Social media feeds reflect current activities in the city
Community Food Initiatives and engagement opportunities mapped and promoted to the public through print, broadcast and on-line media Identify & map Belfast’s community food initiatives  FCFFG April 2016 FCFFG No. of community food initiatives mapped
Incorporate the CFI data into the BFN Food Directory JK May 2016 BFN Food Directory becomes a more comprehensive resource of all food related activities in the city
Develop a social media campaign to promote Belfast CFIs JK June 2016 BFN No. of events promoted
Promote CFI events through BFN communications platforms JK Dec 2015 ����� Dec 2017 BFN Increasing No. of partners regularly providing info.

Priority 3 – Food Poverty and Diet Related Ill Health (FPWG)

Background:         The FPWG was set up inAugust 2014, there are currently 20 members, with representatives from Belfast City Council, the two local Health and Social Care Trusts, Public Health Agency, Food Standards Agency NI, Community and Voluntary sector (including local food banks and advice centres), FareShare, Advice NI, Consumer Council (NI), and Ulster University.

There are strong linkages between BFN FPWG and theAll-island Food Poverty Network (AIFPN)with a number of members in common and exchange of meeting papers and information. The All-Island Food Poverty Network was set up to measure the extent of food poverty across the island of Ireland. Network members are seeking to develop a coordinated approach to address ‘food poverty’ in order to inform and influence practice and policy. The FPWG has also established good links with the Trussell Trust and Fareshare nationally.

The Sustainable Cities Award framework was used as the starting point for our work, following an initial rapid assessment of current initiatives it became clear that no single agency holds responsibility for tackling food poverty and that there is no coordination of activities whatsoever. The FPWG developed the Enough is Enough project to try and develop a coordinated approach to tackle food poverty across the city.

The BFN secured 5k from the PHA to deliver the first phase of the project – we collaborated with Advice NI to carry out a survey across 100 organisations in the city to create the Enough is Enough Scoping Survey, which outlines the current baseline for food poverty in Belfast, the report is available on the BFN and IPH websites. A further £5k was secured to deliver the second phase of the project, focusing on the impact of sanctions and building a collaborative response to food poverty, which will be ready in Dec 2016. Funding will be sought to deliver the third phase, which will focus on engaging the working poor to develop a solution based approach. For full details of the Enough is Enough project please see the BFN’s bid for a bronze SFC award.

Outcomes:          �� 1 ����������� Increased access to affordable healthy food in Belfast

                  2 – Fewer people experiencing food poverty in Belfast

                  3 – Food poverty placed on the local and national policy agenda

Convener:             Dr Elizabeth Mitchell, Institute for Public Health

Indicator:               Food Poverty included in local and national policy 

Theme Key actions Lead Timescale Resource Outcome
A multi-agency partnership – involving key public and voluntary organisations – has been established to assess and tackle the full range of issues that contribute to food poverty in a joined-up strategic way. Develop partnership between BFN FPWG and the All-island Food Poverty Network (AIFPN) to develop local initiatives  EM Jan 2016 – Dec 2016 AIFPN Strong working partnership with Safefood and Food Standards Agency developedNo. of local initiatives set up
Work with others to set up an all party food poverty working group at the NI Assembly and strengthen BCC’s response EM Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFN Establishment of all part working group in NI AssemblySpecific BCC leadership on the cities collaborative responseNo. of initiatives working in partnership to share learning and resources
Complete Phase 2 of Enough is Enough – Collaborative response to Food Poverty report launched BFN Coordinator Dec 2015 – Feb 2016 PHA Response publicised on website and social media feedsMedia coverage of launch to increase understanding of food poverty
Secure resources to deliver Phase 2 of Enough is Enough project – the Collaborative Response to Food Poverty FPWG March 2016 – June 2016 Multiple Sources Adequate resources secured to fully implement the collaborative city wide response
Implement Collaborative Response to Food Poverty with FPWG, BCC, BHSCT, PHA BFN Coordinator March 2016 – Dec 2017 Multiple sources No. of initiatives delivered with partnersNo. of people benefitting from initiatives
Secure funds to deliver Phase 3 of Enough is Enough, creating a solution based approach for the working poor BFN Coordinator Jan – Dec 2016 PHA Clearer understanding of specific issues affecting working poorNo. of working poor involved in developing solution based approach
The living wage is being actively promoted via campaigns to raise employer awareness of the impacts of paying low wages and the benefits of raising them. BCC is actively promoting the living wage to increase large employers awareness of the benefits of raising wages BCC Jan 2016 – Dec 2017 BCC No. of large employers adopting the living wageDecrease in number of working people accessing food banks
Complete the Lifelong Learning Charter for the city. One of the Charter’s commitments is to address economic disadvantage through advocating for the living wage and the creation of real jobs. Lifelong Learning Group June 2016 BSP Increased advocacy for the living wage and job creation.
For those in urgent need –including benefit delay or suspension in payments – relevant agencies are providing rapid referral to hardship funds and emergency food aid. Ensure people are informed of local services at point of crisis – create localised info sheets to be given out by frontline staff in Advice centres, Women’s Aid and social security offices. Advice NI/PPR Jan – June 2016 Advice NI Equal access to local support services for everybody in crisis
Develop links with NISRA/DSD following “An insight into food banks in Northern Ireland” published in summer 2015, reported on face-to-face surveys completed with 78 food bank users, completed at 6 food banks across NI in January and February 2015 EM Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFNAdvice NI Shared learningIdentification of potential joint initiatives
Health professionals, welfare advisers and housing/voluntary organisations are trained in food poverty issues and are able to advise clients on accessing affordable healthy food and to skills training such as menu planning, food buying and cooking. Increase number of organisations that FareShare works with to increase number of regular �����Cook it’ and affording cooking training programmes are delivered for vulnerable clients.  FareShare volunteers are also trained in Basic Food Hygiene and Health and Safety  Fareshare Jan 2016 – Dec 2017 Fareshare No. of ‘Cook It’ and affording cooking training programmes being deliveredNo. of people accessing ‘whole cooking’ programmes
Increase access to Food Values-Budgeting for better nutrition – short food budgeting programme that aims to make healthier choices more accessible within a limited budget.  Delivered within community settings as 4 sessions by community dietitians. BHSCTand SEHSCT Jan 2016 – Dec 2017 BHSCT No. of organisations delivering Budgeting for better nutritionNo. of people accessing Budgeting for better nutrition
A range of healthy weight services and initiatives are being provided, from dieting and nutrition advice and support to exercise programmes and facilities Continued multi-agency implementation of the obesity prevention framework. DHSSPS published ‘A Fitter Future for All’ in 2012. It aims to ���empower the population of Northern Ireland to make healthy choices, reduce the risk of overweight and obesity related diseases and improve health and wellbeing, by creating an environment that supports and promotes a physically active lifestyle and a healthy diet” PHA Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 PHA No. of initiatives deliveredNo. of people benefitting from initiatives
Promotion of Mencal, a free online resource launched by the FSA (NI) in Sept 2015 to enable caterers to identify allergens and calculate the calories for items on their menus, with the aim of enabling consumers to make more informed choices.  This is an all-island project, in conjunction with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. FSA Sept 2015 – Dec 2017 FSA No. of businesses using Menucal
Promote Weigh to Health, a 7 week community based weight management programme which aims to help adults to lose weight safely with the support of a group. Delivered locally by tutors trained and supported by community dieticians. BHSCT Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BHSCT No. of voluntary organisations and groups delivering Weigh to HealthNo. of people successfully losing weight through the programme
Increase access to Active Belfastprogramme through community networks. It aims to promote healthy living and increase physical activity. It is one of the Belfast Strategic Partnership’s (BSP) key projects. They have set up a range of activities to encourage a healthier lifestyle under 3 categories: Walking; Cycling; and Community gardens. Active Belfast Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 Active BelfastBSP No. of groups and organisations delivering Active Belfast Programme
Increase uptake of free school meals and social food provision – such as lunch clubs and meals on wheels – for vulnerable people who might otherwise go hungry or suffer malnutrition. Increase uptake of free school meals across full-time nursery, primary school and post-primary school pupils. BELB area has the highest uptake of free school meals (53.4%) as a proportion of all school meals provided. Uptake of FSM as a proportion of entitlement in BELB is 80.6% – the same as the NI average.  Education Authority Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BELB Children eligible for free school meals can access them freelyIncrease in No. of children accessing free school meals
Create a database of lunch clubs to actively promote on the BFN website, in the directory. They are mainly attached to churches, women’s centres and city council community centres. BFN Coordinator{DN have you seen Brighton and Hove work on this? Liz} Dec 2015 – June 2016 BFN Shared database of Belfast’s lunch clubs, helping identify gaps in provisionNo. of people accessing lunch clubs through the BFN Directory
Work with FPWG and CSWG to see more affordable hot meals made available for people in the community. This will target social isolation as well as food poverty. EMFK Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFN Increase in No. of meals made available to vulnerable peopleDevelopment of CFI Network {DN what is CFI Network? Liz}Decrease in social isolation for vulnerable individuals and groups
Raise awareness of Healthy Start scheme with food banks, SureStart, Advice Centres etc. FPWG Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFNAdvice NIDHSSPS Increased uptake of Healthy Start vouchers and vitamins
More healthy options are being made available in supermarkets, convenience stores, takeaways, vending machines and/or catering settings such as nurseries, schools, hospitals, care homes and workplaces. Work with Regional Food in Schools Coordinator to increase uptake of School Food Policy (launched in September 2013 – emphasises a whole school approach to food and links food in the curriculum to food provided or eaten whilst in school) in all Belfast schools BFN CoordinatorEAL Sept 2015 – Sept 2016 EAL All schools in Belfast have implemented a proactive School Food Policy
Promote and track usage of ‘food @ my school’ school intranet tool for teachers to promote a whole-school approach to Food in Schools. It contains curriculum resources on food and nutrition for Key Stages EAL Sept 2015 – Sept 2016 EAL Increase in No. of teachers accessing information and guidance on school food, the Policy, nutritional standards for school food, news and events on food, nutrition education, video conferences etc.
Develop contribution EHOs can make to Food Poverty Work – including: food hygiene training courses, signposting FareShare, specific projects e.g. healthier Chinese Takeaways, community shops EMGMcF Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFNBCC No. of joint initiatives identified, resourced and implemented

Priority 4 – Building Community Food Skills and Knowledge (CSWG)

Background: ��       The CSWG was set up in September 2014, there are 14 members with representatives from the community garden sector, local charities,        Root Soup, No./So./E and W Belfast partnership boards and Women’s Net.

                                  The working group delivered a small engagement project with seven schools across the city. The provision of food in schools has never been far from the headlines in the past few years. A new policy for school food in Northern Ireland was introduced towards the end of 2013; allied to our devolved strategy on the provision of free school meals, there is an assurance of high nutritional quality.

The CSWG seeks to build on this solid platform of school meal provision, by working with a small number of schools to establish a more holistic appreciation of whole food systems in schools. We delivered classroom-based activities to identify key issues in each school, with a view to setting up an extended pilot programme in 2015/16. Each school was invited to enter a gardening design competition which culminated in an exhibition of their work in the city centre. Mercy Primary School won the competition.

Outcomes:      ��     1 – Increase usage of existing and new community gardens

        ��                         2 ��� More people understand the benefits of fresh, local and seasonal produce to Eat Better for Less through OCN Accredited course

��            ����                    3 – Food will be used as the catalyst to effect real, measurable change in areas of high multiple deprivation.

Convener:             Felice Kiel, East Belfast Independent Advice Centre, Freelance Facilitator

Indicator:               People will know how to, want to, and be able to eat, buy, and prepare healthier food for themselves and their families

Theme Key actions Lead Timescale Resource Outcome
Green and brownfield sites and/or redundant retail and other buildings that could be used for community food projects or allotments have been mapped and/or are being made available to local communities Work with Groundwork NI, Conservation Volunteers, Root Soup, NIHE, BCC and DSD to develop a further five meanwhile sites, increasing community engagement  Groundwork NI Sept 2015 – Dec 2017 PHADSD Five meanwhile gardens opened with strong community involvement
Community food growing is increasing through increased allotment provision and/or the development of edible landscapes in parks, borders and verges and through city-wide food growing initiatives such as The Big Dig and Incredible Edible. Work with Groundwork NI, Conservation Volunteers, Root Soup, NIHE, BCC and DSD to increase usage of existing and new community gardens and meanwhile sites. There are many underutilised sites across the city BCC Dec 2015 ����� Dec 2017 BCC Increase in No. of people accessing food growing sites
Work with Cathedral Quarter Trust and BCC to plant up existing beds in Buoy Park with herbs for use by local residents, students, restaurants and cafes BFN Coordinator Jan 2016 – July 2016 BCC No. of beds planted up with edible plants
Tailored training opportunities on food buying, cooking, nutrition and hygiene skills and/or access to community kitchens are being provided for a variety of audiences including young adults, families and the vulnerable elderly. Support GROW NI to develop a ‘more than��� gardening approach to food poverty, including the development of Eat Better, Spend Less programme  CSWG Sept 2015 – Dec 2017 GROW NI No. of people accessing ‘more than’ programmeNo. of people gaining increased food knowledge through initiatives
Develop the UK’s first OCN Accredited Nutrition course, based on the Australian Healthy Eating Pyramid and fresh, seasonal, local produce. FK Dec 2015 – July 2016 BFN No. of people taking the training.No. of community organisations delivery training courseNo. of people accessing courses across the city
Develop Root Soup’s Soil to Soup programme to more community gardens across the city. It teaches people how to prepare nutritious meals using the food grown, providing nutritional hints and tips to help them lead a healthier life. CSWG Jan 2016 – Dec 2017 Root Soup Increase in number of gardens delivering Soil to Soup programme
Develop low cost ‘Nourish’ cooking course with residents in North and West Belfast FK/BFN CoordinatorLigoniel Ass. March 2016 Family Friendly 12 sessions successfully delivered with 3 groups
Roll out Nourish programme across City – starting in South Belfast FK/ BFN Coordinator/ SBPB April 2016-March 2017 SBPB No. of sessions delivered to local groups
Deliver a series of Taste Adventures across the city, 1 central and 1 in North, South, East and West BFN Coordinator March 2016/March 2017 Family Friendly/BCC Grants No. of Taste Adventures delivered
Work with SBRR to expand multicultural ‘Tiny Tastes’ programme FK April 2016 ��������� March 2017 Multiple Sources No. of sessions delivered
Primary and secondary schools are adopting holistic school food education and engagement programmes – such the Food for Life Partnership – including growing, cooking, farm visits and improvements to meals and dining culture Work with Regional Food in Schools Coordinator to increase uptake of School Food Policy (launched in September 2013 – emphasises a whole school approach to food and links food in the curriculum to food provided or eaten whilst in school) in all Belfast schools, as legislated BFN CoordinatorEAL Sept 2015 – Sept 2016 EAL All schools in Belfast have implemented a proactive School Food Policy
Continue School Engagement project to develop holistic school food initiatives linked to the School Food Policy BFN Coordinator Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFN Seven schools delivering holistic school food initiatives
Belfast City Council is enabling individuals and communities to get better access to resources that could be used for food enterprises or projects. Work with Belfast Healthy Cities, BCC, DSD and Groundwork to increase access to resources that could be used for food projects CSWG March 2016 – March 2017 BCCDSD  No. of sites made available for growing food
Work with BCC, Chinese Welfare Ass and Roma Community to develop a multicultural community garden at the Ozone, Ormeau Park FK/ BFN Coordinator April 2016 – March 2017 Multiple Sources Garden completed and well used
Develop a Community led, run and managed food buying cooperative Work with local community organisations, BCC, DSD and relevant public sector bodies to set up a community led, run and owned Food buying Co-operatives that provide a Spade to Spoon approach to food. FKEBIAC Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFN No. of Spade to Spoon food buying set up

5 ��� Promoting a vibrant and diverse sustainable food economy (FEWG)

Background:       The FEWG was set up in September 2014 with 9 members from BCC, Invest NI, NI Tourist Board, No/So/E/W partnership Boards. Unfortunately the original Convener, Michele Shirlow, CEO of Food NI has had to step down to focus on delivering the Year of Food. We’re seeking a suitable replacement.

Belfast is spoilt for choice with an ever increasing choice of restaurants, cafes and bars actively promoting fresh, locally grown seasonal produce. 2016 has been designated the �������Year of Food������������� by the former Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster. Fresh Atlantic fish, grass-fed beef, beautiful raw milk cheeses, butter and seasonal vegetables are readily available within an hour’s drive of the city centre, with a new generation of chefs, producers and growers leading the culinary revolution across the province.  There are now over forty local artisan producers operating across Northern Ireland compared to half a dozen a decade ago and our produce won  Great Taste Awards last year.

In the last five years or so, Belfast has been increasingly recognised as a city of high-quality food. St George’s Market acquires new awards almost every year, while the city’s top restaurants have secured their standing among the finest in these islands.

This reputation has been built on the excellence of local produce, grown throughout the region. The success of NI’s agri-food industry has survived the economic downturn and has ambitious plans for growth. Food NI has been a first-class ambassador for its members, large and small, enhancing their marketability. The greatly increased public interest in artisan foods has led to a significant growth in micro-businesses. On the whole, these start-up companies are too small to attract the interest of the industry and its marketing muscle. As a result, Belfast Food Network is helping to provide some exposure to the marketplace for these producers.

The FEWG secured £5k to publish a Sustainable Food Directory (through carrier bag levy). Its focuses on the many small retailers from whom fresh, local seasonal and healthy food can be bought. This pocket-sized booklet, complemented by an online resource, gives details of shops and markets throughout the city and beyond.

In another original initiative, we organised our first highly popular Taste Adventure event inside the atrium of the Ulster Museum. As a departure from the usual market stalls, we invited fifteen small local producers, including artisan bakers, cheesemakers and a chocolatier, to demonstrate their expertise, talk about their products and let people taste them. It was a highly interactive educational exhibition and proved to be a big hit with the public. Over 300 young people and 200 adults explored food through their five senses. Our feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with the producers saying it was the most interactive, enjoyable activity that any of them had experienced and the Ulster Museum is keen to establish it as a regular event.

Outcomes:            1 – Increase access to affordable fresh local produce

 ��         ����            ��         2 – More people know what fresh local and seasonal produce is, and where to get it

     ��     �� ����     ��  ��    ����     3 ����� More people know about the work of the BFN through weekly stall at St George’s Market

Interim Lead:     Kerry Melville, Belfast Food Network

Indicator:   ��        People will understand what fresh local and seasonal produce is readily available, and where to buy it

Theme Key actions Lead Timescale Resource Outcome
Retail, tourism, planning and economic development strategies, policies and services actively promote and support the development and long term success of healthy and sustainable food businesses. Work with BCC to increase visibility and understanding of of healthy sustainable food through Food Tourism development and promotion.   Including Taste and Dine, food demonstrations, Restaurant Week, Out to Lunch Festival, food tours and trails BCC Dec 2015 – Dec 2016 BCC No. of initiatives and events promoting healthy and sustainable food businesses delivered
Work with BCC and Invest NI to increase support for healthy and sustainable food businesses BCC Jan 2016 – Dec 2017 BCC No. of healthy and sustainable food businesses receiving support from BCC and Invest Ni
Shops, restaurants and markets selling healthy and sustainable food are being promoted to the public using a range of communication tools. Support Food NI and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to actively promote the Year of Food – for everybody BFN Coordinator Jan – Dec 2016 NI Assembly No. of local initiatives and events being delivered in Belfast
Local producers can connect direct with consumers and/or better access wholesale and retail markets through events, on-line tools and cooperative marketing and retailing initiatives. Secure Market Licence for monthly Fair Food Fair to be held in the Dirty Onion BFN Coordinator Dec 2015 Beanncor Licence secured
Hold a monthly Fair Food Fair in the Dirty Onion monthly to enable local producers to connect directly with consumers BFN Coordinator March  2016 – October 2017 BFN No. of local producers providing stalls for Fair Food FairNo. of people accessing the Fair Food Fair
Develop a Community led, run and managed food buying cooperative Work with local community organisations, BCC, DSD and relevant public sector bodies to set up a community led, run and owned Food buying Co-operatives based in designated community assets FKEBIAC Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFN

6 – Transforming catering and food procurement (CPWG)

We launched the UK ‘Sustainable Fish Campaign’ in July 2014, initial interest was high. The campaign’s objective is to promote the procurement of sustainable fish, by encouraging organisations to sign up to its pledge. The pledge asks for a simple commitment based on a few core principles:

Avoiding the worst – Tell suppliers to remove endangered species from menus and catering

Promoting the best – Serving sustainably managed fish

Improving the rest – Tell suppliers or caterers that they only want to serve sustainable fish

Commitments secured from leading fish restaurants, such as Mourne Seafood, before the campaign launch, and the involvement of Seafish, the NI seafood industry authority, Belfast Food Network went on to persuade many other well-known establishments to sign the Sustainable Fish Pledge. These included the restaurants Made in Belfast and Ginger Bistro, theJohn Hewitt pub, Titanic Belfastand Belfast Metropolitan College. In addition, the catering giant, Compass Group and the Slow Food NI organisation have committed to the pledge. In so doing, we have secured Belfast’s first star in the Sustainable Fish City scheme.

The other main thrust of this working group has involved close collaboration with the Estates team at the NI Assembly. The catering at the several outlets of Parliament Buildings is provided by the commercial caterer, Eurest. We have persuaded Eurest to seek Food for Life Catering Mark status for their Assembly catering services. This is the UK’s foremost recognition of sustainable food, subject to a rigorous annual inspection and a guarantee that the food is predominantly locally sourced, free from GMOs, fresh, healthy and seasonal. Once the award is secured, the Assembly will become the first of the UK parliaments to have this status; we will then seek to get other public sector organisations to follow suit.

Outcomes:   ������        1 – Buyers are more aware of the benefits of buying fresh, seasonal, local produce

                             ��������    2 – Develop a Good Food accreditation for NI

Convener: ��  ��      Gary McFarlane, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

Indicator:          �� More locally sourced sustainable food is bought through catering companies, public sector bodies and large employers

Theme Key actions Lead Timescale Resource Outcome
Actively Promote  Belfast as a Fairtrade city Ensure year round promotion of Belfast as a recognised Fairtrade city BCC Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BCC No. of promotional activities heldGreater understanding of the importance of Fairtrade
Hold at least five events in Fairtrade Fortnight BCC Feb/March 2016/17 BCC No. of events heldNo. of people attending events
Promote Sustainable Fish City Campaign Secure second star for city by securing 10 sustainable fish pledges from big employers BFN Coordinator Dec 2015 – Aug 2016 BFN No. of pledges secured
Secure third star for city by securing sustainable fish pledges from education sector BFN Coordinator March 2016 – March 2017 BFN No. of pledges securedNo. of stars secured
Restaurants and other small scale catering businesses are sourcing more healthy, sustainable, ethical and locally produced ingredients.  Increase percentage of locally produce bought by restaurants, cafes and catering businesses CPWG March 2016 – March 2017 BFN Increase in % of local produce bought from targeted businesses
Provide information to hospitality and catering sectors on what healthy sustainable food is, and where to buy it from CPWG Dec 2016 to Dec 2017 BFN No. of info resources distributed
Public sector organisations and large private caterers have achieved quality, healthy, sustainable and/or ethical food accreditation, such as the Food for Life Catering Mark, Sustainable Fish, Good Egg and other awards. Explore options to develop a Good Food accreditation that’s applicable to NI, focusing on quality, sustainability and ethical sourcing GMcF Jan 2016 ��� Sept 2016 BFN Options discussed by BFN Advisory Group and one agreed on to develop
Develop Good Food Accreditation for implementation across NI GMcF Oct 2016 – Oct 2017 BFN Good Food Accreditation developed and implemented in key public sector bodies and large businesses
Develop work with BHSCT to address the nutrition of BHSCT. Explore all food procurement in all its facilities which includes all canteens and vending machines EMIPH Sept 2015 – Dec 2017 BFNBHSCT Notable changes in procurement practices

7 – Reducing waste and the ecological footprint of the food system (WWG)

There has been a marked reduction in the tonnage of food waste going to landfill over the last few years. This is in large part the result of council initiatives working with households, allied to the work of agencies like Wrap and its Love Food Hate Waste campaign. In addition, there are projects that divert perfectly usable food from the waste stream to alleviate food poverty among disadvantaged families, such as Fareshare. This working group brings together representatives from most of these organisations to further develop the profile of food waste reduction, collaborating closely with the Love Food Hate Waste Ten Cities project.

Outcomes:            1 – 3500 people attend Feed the City event and learn more about reducing food waste

      ��                       2 – Reduction in amount of food waste being created in the home and commercial sector

                ��              3 – Increase in usage of city wide food waste composting service

Convener:           Dr Sue Christie, Former Director of Northern Ireland Environment Link

Indicator:          �� More people in the city know how to reduce their food waste and implement changes to reduce food waste

Theme Key actions Lead Timescale Resource Outcome
City-wide campaigns to raise public awareness of food waste and how to reduce it are being delivered – such as Love Food Hate Waste, Feeding the 5000, The Pig Idea and Disco Soup Support uptake of LFHW 10 cities cascade training to raise public awareness WRAP July 2015 – March 2016 WRAP No. of people completing and delivering training
Hold a large ‘Feed the City’ event with support from Feed Back Global to raise awareness of food waste and increase food knowledge and skills through workshops, demonstrations and activities BFN Coordinator May 2016 BFN/BCC Event successfully heldNo. of people attending the eventNo. of new members of BFN
Secure funding to hold Feed the City Event, strengthen community partnerships through workshop programme with 15 groups in areas of high multiple deprivation. BFN Coordinator May 2016 BFN/BCC No. of groups providing activities at the eventNo. of workshops held
Local charities and social enterprises are collecting consumable surplus food and redistributing it to organisations feeding people in need, while working to raise the nutritional standards of the food aid being offered. Support Fareshare, Trussell Trust, SOS Bus, Food Cloud, local food banks and organisations to access more nutritionally balanced food, including fresh produce SC Dec 2015 – Dec 2017 BFN Increase in amount of fresh produce and nutritionally balanced surplus food being redistributed
PHA and BHSCT researching raising nutritional standards of food distributed at food banks and delivering a pilot to improve the quality of food distributed BHSCT/PHA Sept 2015 – Sept 2016 BHSCT/PHA Better quality food of a higher nutritional value being distributed by food banks
A food waste collection scheme for homes and/or for restaurants and businesses is established and is redirecting the waste for composting or energy recovery (AD) Support increase usage of existing city wide home composting scheme, to decrease the amount of food going to landfill BCC March 2016 – March 2017 BCC Increase in % of generated food waste being composted
Reduction in the amount of home and commercial food waste created through targeted initiatives BCC/WRAP Dec 2015 –Dec 2017 BCC/WRAP Reduction in food wastedNo. of initiatives implemented
Home and community food composting is being promoted through awareness and education campaigns, including provision of facilities and equipment BCC to extend food waste education programme, including workshops, provision of equipment. BCC Jan 2016 – Dec 2017 BCC No. of education sessions heldNo. of participants at each session
Develop community garden composting scheme to get compost redistributed locally, as required BCC Jan 2016 – Dec 2017 BCC

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