The Larder is a social enterprise that’s supported by the Sustainable Food Lancashire steering group. Our aim is multifaceted, with a desire to influence change through the provision of education and support in accordance with our broad, 6 category Charter goals:

To achieve the promotion of healthier and sustainable food to the public we have highlighted two specific aims: (1) ensure that the role and important of healthy and sustainable food is communicated to every audience using clear, consistent messages that inspire people to act; and (2) promote a positive and inclusive food culture by engaging the public with healthy, sustainable, ethical and local food while celebrating culinary and cultural diversity.

Work associated with this goal includes:

Aims regarding this goal include: (1) support local strategies to tackle poverty and break the cycle of deprivation and enable Lancashire to be a place where everyone has access to affordable, good food; and (2) increase the accessibility, availability and affordability of healthier food options.

It’s essential that people understand that food poverty is impacted by a variety of factors (besides the obvious lack of access to food and food’s affordability). Some factors include fuel poverty and a lack of cooking facilities, a lack of cooking, menu planning, budgeting and buying skills, and the inability to afford travel costs to access shops that sell good, healthy, wholesome foods.

Thus, what can we do to alleviate this situation?

  1. Create a coordinated and sustainable approach to tackling food poverty by developing networks and social enterprises to help those in need and reduce dependency on food banks.
  2. Proactively support the Third Sector (Community Voluntary and Faith) to tackle poverty at a community level and encourage the development of social capital and the use of Asset Based Community Development Approaches
  3. Promote initiatives designed to reduce energy bills.
  4. Increase access to affordable finance and services that help to support and improve financial literacy.
  5. Increase access and availability of training such as menu planning, budgeting, buying and cooking skills.
  6. Raise employer awareness to the importance of the ‘living wage.’
  7. Support food banks in signposting people to relevant services.
  8. Support good social food provision for older people and vulnerable groups – reduce social isolation.
  9. Audit/evaluate existing initiatives and implement new ones that help tackle food poverty e.g. Healthy Start and the School Food Plan.

Knowledge is power, and to build this we aim to: (1) provide opportunities to grow, cook and eat good food by increasing the knowledge and skills of all age groups; and (2) promote passion for a positive food culture and food education across our community settings and create a space for information and resources to be shared.

Currently, groups can access our Sustainable Meal Game and discuss what they consider is the most ‘sustainable’, and we provide access to the OCN course, Plan and cook for a healthy lifestyle, for those working with people in the community.

Our aims regarding the promotion of a vibrant and diverse sustainable food economy include: (1) celebrate, promote, and support Lancashire’s food producers/smallholders and land resources to keep value within our local economcy and also to raise employer awareness of the importance of the ‘living wage’; and (2) engage consumers and food suppliers at local and regional levels to shorten the sustainable food supply chain.

With nearly 50% of all food eaten outside the home, catering and procurement offers one of the most effective methods to drive large scale changes in emphasising healthy and sustainable food.

As a result, our aims include: (1) inspire and enable all food settings to source and supply healthy, seasonal, locally and ethically produced food; and (2) support and enable small scale local producers and other sustainable food businesses to access large scale procurement markers via cooperative marketing and supply initiatives.

For added information, see here: Promoting Sustainable Food at Work.

Food waste is a major issue and area of concern. We throw away approximately 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. This waste costs us almost £12.5bn a year and exhibits a negative influence on the environment.

To reduce waste and the ecological footprint of the food system we aim to (1) reduce food waste, food miles and unnecessary packaging and create opportunities to redistribute surplus food from the whole supply chain across Lancashire, and (2) promote food systems that protect wildlife and support food produced with high animal welfare standards.

For ideas on how to achieve reduced waste, see the Love Food Hate Waste Cooking Toolkit.

And for some added details on the evidence-based background regarding food waste, including its impact on the environment, addressing food poverty and animal welfare, check out our Sustainable Food Lancashire page.