Edinburgh is already buzzing with food-related activity! Our plan is inspired by the many people and organisations who are leading the way in delivering positive change by tackling health inequalities, food waste and food poverty.
The Edible Edinburgh Sustainable Food City Plan is a tool to help strengthen and expand all this activity. With the plan we aim to find and deal with gaps and to work with as many people as possible to develop Edinburgh as a sustainable food city.
The changes we want to see to our food and our city involve nothing less than a cultural shift and can only happen if everyone – individuals, families, groups, organisations and businesses – works together to make our food systems more sustainable.
No single organisation or agency can do this alone and Edible Edinburgh can help us join forces for food’s sake!
We believe the reward – a city where good food is available for all, making for healthy people, thriving communities and a sustainable environment – is worth it!
..and this is what we are all working towards:
- More fresh, healthy and sustainable food produced and enjoyed.
- Fewer people living in poverty.
- Our natural environment and resources are protected and conserved with fewer emissions.
- A thriving economy with greater diversity in local food production and distribution.
- A transformed food culture with greater awareness and skills.
Edible Edinburgh is supporting action in six key areas:
Health and Wellbeing:
Create fair and affordable access to sustainable food; ensure people can use it as part of a healthy and nutritious diet.
Grow, produce and distribute food more locally while protecting our natural resources and environment.
Use our natural resources more efficiently to minimise our ecological footprint and reduce food waste.
Develop a thriving local food economy based on businesses and individuals buying more sustainable food.
Develop a diverse, independent food sector that offers a variety of skills, training and job opportunities.
Inspire, enable and support people to connect with food and the cultural traditions of eating, sharing and celebrating.
We’ve come a long way already
Here’s a snapshot summary of what we’ve been up to:
Steering Group members developed the Edible Edinburgh Sustainable Food City Plan. It was launched on 2nd July 2014 at Muirhouse Community Shop and North Edinburgh Arts at a lively event.
Edible Edinburgh has been working city-wide with partners across all sectors from health, environment, economy, education and cultural change to stop poverty taking a further hold in our city. In December 2014 Cllr Hinds convened a joint meeting of members of Edible Edinburgh and the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership, together with a number of national agencies, which led to the leaders of Glasgow and Edinburgh Councils issuing a joint statement on food poverty. The statement was issued on 28th February 2015 and was followed by a joint statement from the Directors of Public Health in Lothian and Glasgow on 1st March.
Edible Edinburgh has been actively involved in various events, like Pilton Community Health Partnership’s Good Food for All and the Edible Cities Edinburgh event . We have also provided support to the development of the Power of Food Festival.
The Steering group also took part in the launch and consultation on the Scottish Government’s Becoming a Good Food Nation draft policy. Edible Edinburgh believes cities have a crucial role in stimulating the development of more sustainable food systems, through using their buying power to promote sustainable local food, developing local solutions to food poverty and making land available for growing our food. Cities also play key roles in addressing food waste, promoting local tourism initiatives and co-ordinating economic development efforts. Edible Edinburgh’s response can be seen here. Link and overall results of the consultation can be seen here.
Appointment of a New Partnership Chair, Councillor George Gordon – The Edible Edinburgh partnership was without a Chair from mid 2016 until May 2017 when Councillor George Gordon, Councillor of Forth Ward, took over the role. Councillor Gordon brings a wealth of experience and inspiration to the campaign to make Edible Edinburgh’s vision a reality. He is committed to leading the Edible Edinburgh partnership as it spearheads Edinburgh’s efforts to become a sustainable food city.
During his early appointment, Councillor Gordon successfully acquired resources to refresh the partnership. This included attending meetings and conferences, hosting numerous events, opening and speaking for and about the Edible Edinburgh partnership and its goals, taking motions through full Council, and emphasising the need for a proper and meaningful Food Strategy linking it to many other Council strategies and future plans.
Throughout his appointment as Chair, Councillor Gordon has continued to champion Edible Edinburgh’s vision by supporting and negotiating many reports through Council Committees, securing Senior Council Officer input and highlighting the importance of the Edible Edinburgh partnership with City Councillors, Council Officers and the media, to ensure sustainable food is at the top of the agenda in the city.
Councillor Gordon, Edinburgh Community Food, Nourish Scotland, Transition Edinburgh South and the Soil Association were instrumental in the revival of the partnership during this period. Councillor Gordon and Council Officers secured resources for a Sustainable Food Places Coordinator, a position that has been hosted by one of the partnership’s lead partners, Edinburgh Community Food, since its inception in August 2018. The revitalisation of the partnership and dedication of Councillor Gordon and other key organisations over this period also resulted in the partnership submitting a successful Sustainable Food Cities Bronze Award in April 2019.
Food Summit 2019 – The partnership hosted a Food Summit event in April 2019, opened by Edible Edinburgh Chair, Councillor George Gordon, who secured the City Chambers as the venue. The event was attended by stakeholder organisations, groups, businesses and projects in public, private and community sectors. The Food Summit provided an opportunity for Edible Edinburgh to showcase the work it has achieved so far and to have wider engagement and participation, to ensure it is fully representative of the whole food system.
Food Growing Strategy Event – In November 2019,Edible Edinburgh hosted an event for those involved in food growing projects across the city. The all day event aimed to bring together anyone interested in food growing who wanted to find out more about the Edinburgh Food Growing Strategy and what can be done to shape it. The Community Empowerment Act 2015 requires Local Authorities to prepare a Food Growing Strategy by spring 2020. The event provided an opportunity for promoting and supporting a network of community growing projects and facilitate discussions surrounding the vision of Edinburgh becoming a food growing city.
Sustainable Food Cities Bronze Award – Edible Edinburgh gathered city-wide evidence and submitted an application for the Sustainable Food Cities (since rebranded as Sustainable Food Places) Bronze Award, which was successful. The award was presented to Councillor George Gordon (Chair of Edible Edinburgh), Iain Stewart (former CEO of Edinburgh Community Food), Lesley Curtis (Edinburgh Sustainable Food Places Coordinator), and Pat Abel (Chair of Transition Edinburgh South), on behalf of the city of Edinburgh at the annual Sustainable Food Cities conference in Newcastle in June 2019 – read more details here. Being presented with the award was a significant achievement for the partnership and a credit to Councillor Gordon, who brought the partnership back to life since his appointment as Chair. The award is open to any place which is a member of the Sustainable Food Places network and is implementing an action plan on healthy and sustainable food focusing on key food issues.
Edible Edinburgh Business Breakfast – Edible Edinburgh held its first Business Breakfast event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) in November 2019. This was a fantastic venue to host the event, which was obtained by Councillor Gordon, who is also Chair of the EICC. Speakers included Jon Davies, Director of Levy UK and a Geoff Crowe of Breadshare. The Lord Provost opened the event which was sponsored by the EICC and Leith’s Catering Company. The event aimed to encourage business dialogue and hopefully participation on the ways in which we can work together to make Edinburgh a truly sustainable food city. The event also saw the launch of Edinburgh’s new Good Food Business Charter – sign up here! A second Business Breakfast event took place in March 2020, coordinated with support from Nourish Scotland and the Scottish Food Coalition, which saw delegates discuss how businesses can engage with the Good Food Nation Bill.
Edinburgh Fish City – Edible Edinburgh have partnered with marine conservation charity, Open Seas, after securing resources to bring the national Sustainable Fish Cities campaign to Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Fish City project aims to build relationships between traceable suppliers, their local community and wider networks, contributing towards a diverse and sustainable food economy in the city that helps to sustain the seafood industry longer term. Read the press release here.
Discover! Family Holiday Programme – This free holiday activity programme run in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council and Edible Edinburgh aims to provide fun learning activities for children and families to share. When free school meals are not accessible during the holidays, it tackles this spike in food insecurity by providing much needed meals and teaches healthy eating and cookery skills at the same time through cooking sessions run by our partners at Edinburgh Community Food. The programme has had to adapt to the many challenges brought by the Coronavirus pandemic, and cooking sessions are now being delivered online.
Edinburgh’s Local Response to Covid-19 – The partnership published an Edinburgh case study in July 2020 to highlight the community food response during Covid-19. The case study features the work of our partners at the City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh Community Food, and it also provides details on the newly established Food for Good Coalition that was set up by partners Edinburgh Food Social, Nourish Scotland and others. You can read the full case study here.
Edinburgh’s World Food Day Festival – Edible Edinburgh partnered with the Soil Association Scotland to bring you Edinburgh’s World Food Day Festival on Friday 16th October 2020. This virtual event celebrated and showcased some of the activity that is happening around good food in Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond, on World Food Day. Our partners, Edinburgh Community Food, also participated in the Peas Please Veg Fest virtual panel on Word Food Day.
Edible Edinburgh – what do we plan to achieve over the next year?
After the success of achieving the Sustainable Food Places (formerly Sustainable Food Cities) Bronze Award in June 2019, Edible Edinburgh plans to step up its role in capturing, coordinating and enhancing our partners’ actions to achieve the Edible Edinburgh vision of a city ‘where good food is available to all, making for healthy people, thriving communities and a sustainable environment’, and work towards the Sustainable Food Places Silver accreditation. To achieve this, Edible Edinburgh will need to build progressively upon the existing food-related activity and achievements already happening in the city and refresh the Edinburgh Sustainable Food City Plan for the period 2021-2026. Partners of Edible Edinburgh and its members will help to instigate, drive and connect this activity. We really hope that you are behind us in continuing to work towards Edinburgh becoming a truly sustainable food city. By being part of Edible Edinburgh your organisation can become a key player in the city’s food atmosphere and be proud of working across all aspects of the food system to solve some of today’s most pressing social, environment and economic issues.
- Addressing Food Poverty. Building on the success of the Joint Council leaders statement on food poverty in February 2015, we will work with our sister organisation in Glasgow – the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership – and national organisations in the poverty, food and community fields to raise awareness of food poverty and its causes and press for change at UK, Scottish and local level.
- Promoting Land for Community Growing. Edinburgh needs more land for community growing. The Community Empowerment Act 2015 provides a new opportunity to address this important issue. Edible Edinburgh will be in the forefront of bringing together partners and communities from across the city in preparation for the city’s Food Growing Strategy, due to be published in April 2020.
- Reducing Food Waste. Reducing food waste is a major component of making Edinburgh and sustainable food city, involving action at individual and community, business and national level. Edible Edinburgh’s partners will be leading the way in raise awareness across the city and coordinating action through our thriving waste reduction sub group.
- Supporting Food Hubs. Food Hubs are attracting a lot of interest here in Scotland, across the UK and further afield as a means of promoting food sustainability and preventing and alleviating food poverty. In Edinburgh the Cooperative Capital Programme of the Edinburgh Partnership has made a commitment to creating four new cooperative food initiatives in the city this year. Edible Edinburgh partners will be at the centre of this development, bringing learning from other places and promoting partnership approaches.
- Promoting Community Action. Edinburgh has a well organised community food sector well represented on the Edible Edinburgh partnership. The concerns of the sector will continue to shape our priorities.