Food Action Plans (or strategies) address food poverty bringing together what statutory agencies and the community, voluntary and social enterprise (VSCE) sectors offer by way of expertise and practical action.

In many cases they have come about due to a particular crisis, but they generally also deal with longer term structural issues.

Food Action Plans come in all shapes and sizes. Some are developed by the council and may sit inside a broader anti-poverty plan, others by the community or the Food Alliance and are community-owned. Some are backed by an extensive evidence base, others focus on practical steps. We make no recommendation as to what is the best approach given that the needs and resources for each area are hugely different, but we do believe that it is important to put a plan together.

You can download a number of Food Action Plans from Sustain; they also produce a guide to putting together a Food Action Plan which lead members, opposition Groups, or Co-operative Party branches may wish to explore. We have selected a few case studies below which give a sense of the very different  approaches.

Download sample food action plan

The charity Sustain produce a guide to putting together a Food Action Plan, which you can download here.

Case studies

Feeding Coventry

Feeding Coventry is an independent charity working towards a hunger-free Coventry by 2020 and the development of sustainable and just food policies. Feeding Coventry is made up of community organisers, academics, City Council representatives, and local business people. Since 2016, the group have been developing local projects designed to prevent and relieve hunger, and to support reforms at a national level to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to hunger.

They have recently published a Food Charter which sets out a vision for what we can do about food poverty. . It recognises the need to deal with both emergency food crises and the development of a sustainable and secure food system. It also recognises the need to treat the ‘food issue’ as one consisting of many elements. Feeding Coventry's approach brings clarity to what can be a confusing and difficult to tackle topic.

Cardiff's Food Action Plan

Cardiff's Five Year Food Security Plan is well written and refreshingly to the point. It acknowledges that "food insecurity is a consequence of broader issues such as low pay, inflation, reform of the welfare state and the introduction of Universal Credit", addresses the importance of partnership working and broader anti-poverty work, and has realistic and SMART targets. It has much to commend it as plan.

Brent Council's Scrutiny Report on Food Bank Use

Brent Council undertook a comprehensive scrutiny report on the use of food banks in the Borough in 2017. As well as demonstrating how scrutiny can be used to shine a light on the negative effects of the Conservative Government's policies, it provides a compelling evidence base and no less than 36 recommendations for the Council to take forward more effective partnership working to counter food poverty in the Borough. Whilst the report is not a food action plan as typical understood, taken together the recommendations can be considered the basis for one. The report also illustrates just how powerful scrutiny can be.

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8 million people in the UK struggle to put on the table and are ‘food insecure’.

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