27th November 2023

Council Celebrates Prestigious Sustainable Food Places Award

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has secured a Sustainable Food Places Bronze Award, underscoring its commitment to championing sustainable, healthy, and locally sourced food. The award acknowledges the Council’s collaborative efforts to address societal challenges, ranging from food poverty and diet-related health issues to the preservation of family farms and independent food retailers.

The Sustainable Food Places Award recognises evidence-based initiatives by producers and growers, celebrating locations that adopt a comprehensive, interconnected approach to  sustainability and well-being through food. Recipients of this award showcase impactful initiatives across their entire food system, driven by a concerted effort from food partnerships and their stakeholders.  

According to the judging panel’s feedback, the Council’s application demonstrated exceptional strengths in action planning, public awareness building, and notable efforts in addressing Key Issue 6, namely the climate and nature emergency. The commendation also highlighted areas for potential enhancement, specifically focusing on strategic approaches to combatting food poverty and promoting local food enterprises to complement the tourism-oriented initiatives. Overall, the panel commended the evidence of tremendous work from community and voluntary sector alongside local producers and growers.

The journey towards this award began in 2021 when the Council established the Sustainable Food Places (SFP) Core Partnership Group. With a focus on developing a comprehensive framework for sustainable food practices within the district, the Council initiated inclusive dialogue with individuals, community groups, businesses and council services engaged in sustainable food practices. This collaborative approach aimed to weave together ongoing projects, success stories, future plans, aspirations, and potential partnerships to shape a sustainable food landscape.

The establishment of the SFP Core Partnership Group underscores the Council’s dedication to advancing sustainable food practices within the community. By engaging a range of stakeholders, the Council aspires to enact positive change, closely monitor progress, and ultimately deliver impactful outcomes in its pursuit of a sustainable food future for the district.

In celebrating the Sustainable Food Places Bronze award, the Council extends its gratitude to all stakeholders, partners, and the community at large for their invaluable contributions to this collective effort. Together, we are paving the way for a healthier, more sustainable, and resilient food future within Newry, Mourne and Down District.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Cllr Valerie Harte said, “We are delighted to be one of only two Northern Ireland Council’s to have received the Bronze award from Sustainable Food Places. I would like to congratulate all producers and growers who work so hard within our agrifood sector. This includes over 20 community and voluntary organisations who have a passion for horticulture, their efforts in social farming have transformed the physical and mental well-being of many volunteers within our district.”

Leon Ballin, Sustainable Food Places Programme Manager, said, “Newry Mourne and Down District Council has demonstrated what can be achieved when creative and committed people work together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live. While there is still much to do and many challenges to overcome, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has helped to set a benchmark for other members of the UK Sustainable Food Places Network to follow.”


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