A PLAN to tackle food insecurity in Liverpool and promote “good food” — sustainable, ethical, and healthy choices — city-wide has been backed by the diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes.
The Good Food Plan, which was launched last month, has been created by the charity Feeding Liverpool, which was founded ecumenically in 2015 as a pilot of the national initiative Feeding Britain (established after the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the UK in 2014). A pledge event was held at the Metropolitan Cathedral on Wednesday night.
The new plan addresses crucial food-related issues in Liverpool, including food insecurity (where food is a source of worry, frustration, and stress); access to and take-up of healthy, nutritious food; and the environmental and ethical impact of the way in which food is produced. It builds on the existing work of Feeding Britain and the Poverty Action Group as well as Liverpool’s City Plan, Pandemic Pledges, and Healthy Weight Declaration, among others.
Good food, the plan says, means different things to different people, including being equipped to plan, shop, cook, and store meals within a budget; having a positive experience (tasty, satisfying, and familiar) as well as choice and variety; and having food that contributes to health and well-being, is ethically and sustainably sourced, and is universally available.
Bishop Bayes, who also supports the campaigns Real Living Wage and Right to Food (News, 5 February), said in a video pledge: “As Christians, we believe food is a gift given from God to all human beings, not just to some. That one in every three adults in Liverpool are food insecure — worrying about where they will get enough food to feed their families, skipping meals, and at times going hungry — is a burning injustice. We cannot stand by and let this happen.
Feeding LiverpoolThe Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, pledges his support of the Good Food Plan
“As a diocese — with a church on the doorstep of every community — and as an employer, we have a part to play. We will continue to speak out against the root causes of poverty which prevent everyone being able to access good food.”
The RC Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Revd Malcolm McMahon, pledged £5000 from the charitable funds of the archdiocese to help co-ordinate the Good Food Plan. He said: “It is a tragedy that such an initiative is needed in a wealthy country like ours, but as long as our sisters and brothers struggle under the burden of food insecurity and other forms of poverty, we will work with all people of good will to enable them to live with the dignity that is the right of every human being.”
Feeding Liverpool estimates that 32 per cent of adults in the city are food-insecure, which, it says, leads to a vicious cycle of buying cheap, less healthy food, borrowing money and asking friends for help, poor physical and mental conditions, relationship breakdowns, and burnout. These, in turn, lead to increased health-care spending individually and nationally, low productivity and employability, and, ultimately, decreased spending on food, or trading food against health.
This cycle has been compounded, the charity says, by the pandemic, during which foodbank use increased. The Good Food Programme director, Dr Naomi Maynard, explained: “We want to live in a city where everyone can eat good food. Sadly, at the moment, this isn’t the case. The pandemic has surfaced unprecedented levels of food insecurity, and has disproportionately affected some people and communities more than others. . .
“Over the last 12 months, communities and organisations across the city, including residents who are struggling with food insecurity, have been working on the first stage of Liverpool’s Good Food Plan.”
The five-point plan addresses the challenges of individual and national food crises; uncovering the true scale of food insecurity; enabling people to shape their food environments and the food system; shifting policy and practice; and connecting communities. Supporters can contribute by signposting people to where they can access good food; committing to paying all employees a real living wage; starting a new sustainable food business or project; volunteering; or starting conversations about good food in the community.