Food Matters are supporting 21 London-based organisations including councils, food partnerships, and food banks, to develop and embed more sustainable and resilient ways of working to support food insecure Londoners, especially those relying on emergency food aid.

Partnerships between local authorities, civil society organisations and businesses played an integral role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in helping Londoners experiencing food insecurity to access food. The Food Roots programme builds upon this partnership working for the future, by working in collaboration to understand and  address the longer-term drivers of food insecurity, as well as providing immediate support with the Cost of Living.

The Food Roots Incubator programme is in its second stage. In the first stage, we developed a curriculum to support the development and existing work of food partnerships, details of which can be found below.

In the second stage of the programme, we are co-creating and delivering a training, networking and peer support programme for the organisations involved, helping them achieve the programme’s four main focusses of:

Sustainable support out of food poverty – increasing the number of food aid providers within partnerships offering support beyond food, including cash-first and wraparound approaches

Increase in healthy start – increased awareness of the Healthy Start programme

Strengthened partnerships – new and strengthened relationships across voluntary community sector within an area, helping develop + embed strategic solutions to shorter-term delivery challenges arising from spikes in demand for emergency food aid

Sustainable funding for food partnerships – improved ability to access sustainable external funding

For the first round of the Food Roots Incubator programme, we were asked to develop a curriculum to support the development and existing work of food partnerships in 19 participating London boroughs.

Food Matters worked with Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming funded by the Greater London Authority to support these food partnerships move beyond emergency food provision and towards a more resilient local food system that addresses the root causes of food insecurity.

Food Matters first listened to the food partnerships in each of the boroughs to understand their individual needs and expectations.  Through individual consultations and group workshops with each of the partnerships, the curriculum was developed.  Further workshops, training sessions and exchange visits were used to deliver the curriculum, with individual check-ups, tailored feedback and peer support.   Some of the topics included in the curriculum are feature below.  Read our evaluation report to find out more.

Supporting responses to food insecurity 

• Addressing the root causes of food insecurity
• Establishing food coops, food clubs, food pantries, food hubs and more
• Moving from food reliance to food resilience
• Taking a Right to Food approach
• Building a sustainable food supply

Supporting Food Partnerships Development

• Partnerships, collaborative working and whole food system approach
• Developing a strategy and action plan
• Partnership representation
• Facilitation of Food Summits and strategic planning session

Polling at the start and end of sessions indicated that attendees increased their knowledge and confidence.  Some partnerships felt they were effectively transitioning to more resilient models of support whilst some felt more resilient as a partnership.

We learnt how important it was to really listen.  Before developing a curriculum, we listened to each food partnership to determine their individual needs and experience so the curriculum we delivered was fit for purpose.

We also learnt that although Food Matters was able to draw on and share extensive experience and resources from the Sustainable Food Places programme, we found that creating the opportunity for peer learning between project cohort members was a valuable experience for us and them.  As a result of this work, 10 of the food partnerships were considering becoming a Sustainable Food Place.

“Food Partnerships often form in response to a need for emergency food, but once they are connected in their community, they are capable of so much more”

Find out more

Evaluation Report

Get In Touch

Reach out to the Food Matters team to find out more about what we do, get involved or to collaborate with us on a future project.

Get In Touch

Get in touch with the Food Matters team to find out more about what we do or get involved. We also want to hear from you if you would like to collaborate with us on a future project.