Food Planning

After having explored the main problems that urban agriculturalists face, from land access to soil quality, from lack of volunteers to lack of economic sustainability, for this workshop we wanted to adopt a more systemic perspective. Was it the right time to look at how Leeds feeds itself? We had been recently informed that in 2009 - 2010 Leeds had a Food Strategy, so we went to read it and we wanted to explore what went wrong.


  • Could we bring the old Leeds Food Strategy back to life?
  • Would have been possible to integrate and update it?
  • What new priorities could we identify?
  • Was there enough commitment to bring this process forward?
  • What could we learn from other cities?
  • What resources and opportunities could help this process?

The documents and reports here relate to Workshop 8 and a subsequent follow on. The workshop was successful in establishing a working group that have been exploring a way forward, seeking political support within various sectors of the council.


Ideas from the discussions:

Three key reasons for a new sustainable food strategy for Leeds have emerged from the first workshop:

  1. Increase environmental sustainability and food eco-footprints,
  2. Support local economic development through the promotion of local food production,
  3. Promote food education.

These have then been further discussed and articulated in this preliminary document:

Principles — What we want

  1. Sustainability — Food in Leeds will be sustainably produced and sourced within 50 miles of Leeds (could put a %) and food waste will be minimised and surplus food put to beneficial usage (e.g. charitable donations, energy production)
  2. Health and education — Healthy (and sustainable) eating will be encouraged by having and using a consistent message (food messages right for stage of life) to improve health
  3. Economic resilience — Growing proportion of food will be produced in Leeds (“local food”)
  4. Justice — Decommodification of food to enable good quality food at right prices
  5. Ownership of the public



Increase environmental sustainability and local food growing

Because it is crucial to reduce food footprints and  carbon emissions and increase resilience

  • Facilitate access to land. Identify council-owned suitable land for commercial (or community) food growing and make it available
    • Enable community composting to supply food growers’ with organic compost
    • Encourage food foraging and food swaps (stalls at farmers markets)
  • Encourage the reduction of food waste throughout the supply chain in Leeds
  • Influence Neighbourhood Design Statements and make sure they drive actions

Support local economic development through the promotion of local food consumption and production

Because it creates job and promote food security (and because short supply chains produce less waste and are more environmentally sustainable)

  • Assess capacity for growing already and link/support through the Leeds Food Hub (look for outlets for existing growers)
  • Encourage new food businesses alongside food growing
  • Use “waste” heat to help growing spaces i.e. polytunnels by crematorium
  • Street food, pop up shops
  • Encourage retailers headquartered in our region  to further develop their  local food policies, and to source food locally
  • Change procurement policies (supply to schools and hospitals)

Promote food education and public awareness around food quality and food growing

Because it is integral to all the aims and because it is the foundation for health

  • Promote healthy eating consistently (limit take-away)
  • Liaise with former ALMOs to deliver estate growing/cooking classes
  • Promote food growing, seasonality and cooking in all Leeds schools Training new farmers, links to local agricultural colleges and farm start project
  • Offer cheap compost bins to Leeds residents
  • Promote local food celebrations (via Education Leeds, Schools Network, Red Hall)

Research needed:

  1. Where is food produced and sold?
  2. What is consumed?
  3. What could be produced locally?
  4. What campaigns/education are successfully driving behavioural (consumption) change?



Download Leeds Food Strategy, Chiara Tornaghi

Other Documents

Download Brighton Spade to Spoon Food Strategy