Event outcomes – Building real food and farming networks in northern cities

This event explored the challenges and opportunities of developing sustainable food production and distribution systems and networks in our northern cities. We heard from four cities in the process of developing urban farming in partnership with the Urban Agriculture Consortium, and from Dr Jill Edmondson from the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield. 

Watch the full event here: NRFC Building real food and farming networks in northern cities, 14 September 2021 

This virtual workshop used case studies and presentations to:

  • Explore how urban and peri-urban farms can help build links between people living in cities, and the agricultural landscapes that surround them (and connect them to food, nutrition, seasonality and health) ;  
  • Explain how urban and peri-urban farms can contribute to our food supply and food sovereignty aims, and explore the extent to which urban/peri-urban farms could feed people in cities;
  • Explore how urban and peri-urban farms could attract people to the real farming movement, as producers, consumers, citizens and advocates
  • Discuss urban farming’s vital role in the broader movement for a just and fair farming and food system.

Hosted by Suzy Russell, CSA Network UK and NRFC Advisory Group/UAC core group and Andy Goldring, Permaculture Association and NRFC Advisory Group/UAC core group, with a brief introduction from Jeremy Iles, instigator & co-coordinator of the UAC.

The following speakers had input:

Luke Justice, market gardener at Meanwood Valley Farm

Jenny Lawrence, Roger Plumtree, Kirkstall Valley Farm

Sonja Woodcock, Coordinator for FoodWise Leeds

Dr Jill Edmondson, Institute for Sustainable Food, University of Sheffield

Anna Clayton, Coordinator, FoodFutures, Lancaster

Joe Dunne, Projects Manager, Food Partnership & Food Power Alliance Coordinator, Middlesbrough

Fran Halsall, Urban Agriculture Coordinator at ShefFood, Sheffield’s Food Partnership

Key themes emerging from the discussions and presentations included:

  • the need to train new growers/farmers
  • the need for everyone to be part of growing – maybe a shorter working week would enable this for more people
  • the need for councils/policy makers to recognise that urban food growing is essential in our times
  • the (unproven) worry that much more urban food production would have the same negative effects as intensive agriculture (it wouldn’t!)
  • issues relating to land use in urban areas
  • demand for local food and the need for strategies to build that market

Watch the full event: NRFC Building real food and farming networks in northern cities, 14 September 2021 

See input from participants: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Mm8SeubhLii5PYEnehpO2KRm34E4mXAi/view 

Find links and resources mentioned in the event chat: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G5gId8vl2bz42qEMdmPfIYKuQZS9Lk3xN8tnWHfLjVs/edit

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