To consider and discuss the report of the Chief Officer of Sustainable Energy and Air Quality’s presenting Draft Leeds Food Strategy, noting the discussions will inform the development of the final strategy.
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer, Sustainable Energy & Air Quality, on the draft Leeds Food Strategy. The report includes sections on Health & Wellbeing and Food Security & Economy and Sustainability & Resilience (tying in with the 3 pillars of the Best City ambition). Feedback was sought on the Sustainability & Resilience section.
The Senior Project Officer, Sustainable Energy & Air Quality Team, presented the report and outlined how the strategy has been developed. Its aim is to bring together work already happening in the city around food to maximise its impact and also to identify gaps where work needs to be done. The strategy will also enable Leeds to work towards the Sustainable Food Places silver and gold awards (Leeds currently holds bronze). The strategy will last until 2030 and will have annual action plans.
The Sustainability & Resilience chapter has five objectives :
1. Empower residents to choose healthy diets by raising awareness of choices that are good for the planet
2. Tackle waste by reducing, redistributing, and utilising surplus food?
3. Champion environmentally sustainable and resilient procurement
4. Support local farmers to transition to resilient and profitable agriculture which improves the environment
5. Encourage and enable innovative and community-led food production
The Committee also received a presentation from Dr Michelle Morris of the University of Leeds on the Carbon Footprint Calculator. The calculator was developed by the Consumer Data Research Centre in partnership with Leeds City Council and is an example of the type of work the strategy seeks to deliver.
Dr Morris gave a demonstration of the carbon calculator showing how users input recipes and ingredients and carbon emissions will be calculated. The carbon calculator can consider differing carbon footprints of the same product from different country of origins, by taking a national average, and can create custom carbon values for ingredients, which will be particularly useful for local products. The values can be varied to create comparisons. Leeds City Council caterers will be able to upload ‘Saffron’ recipe files directly into the tool.
Other work includes a ‘Top Trumps’ style online card game for children called Planet Plates, which is on the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) website. The FoodWise Leeds website has a recipe hub and the tool has been used to calculate the carbon emissions associated with recipes on there for the public to see. This tool aims to provide the council with the right knowledge to support the wider public to make lifestyle choices which are better for themselves and the planet.
During discussions the following matters were considered:
• The use of data to compare the use of local produce against imported produce and the ability of the calculator to define the data by local regional produce.
• Acknowledged the balance between the need for agricultural and arable land to ensure food production and security against the need to use land to support sustainable energy
• How agricultural skills can be developed, in a similar way to how Leeds City Council has developed digital skills and jobs, noting that the strategy includes a focus on apprenticeships.
• The importance of communication and education on the issues of seasonal availability of produce and food waste. Supporting people’s access to food during the cost of living crisis was highlighted as key.
In conclusion, the Committee was reminded that consultation on the Strategy was now open for all and Members were asked to encourage local residents and groups to take part at www.leeds.gov.uk/FoodStrategy
• The Committee received, considered, and discussed the Leeds Draft Food Strategy
• The Committee noted that the contents of their discussions will provide a steer to the development of the Leeds Food Strategy