EdgeHillUniversityEdge Hill University will be helping to shape the future of food sustainability in Lancashire after taking part in a new initiative to champion local produce.

The ambition of this initiative is to enrich lives in Lancashire through local food by linking producers, shops, community projects, farmers, restaurants and local food enthusiasts together.

To officially launch the initiative and increase awareness of the importance of food sustainability, an event was hosted at the Edge Hill campus in collaboration with Food Link NW with delegates from public health organisations, food retail and farms.

Senior Lecturer in Nutrition Kathleen Mooney said: “The University takes the issue of food sustainability very seriously. For example, we’re in the final preparation stages of obtaining the Food for Life Partnership Bronze medal, which means we must serve seasonal meals that are at least 75% freshly prepared by a well-trained cook.

“We also wanted our students to be very involved in the initiative because food sustainability is inextricably linked to the field of nutrition as it is important to determine if a healthy diet can also be environmentally sustainable. Consumer understanding of sustainable diets is often poor and a more effective combination of research and communication is needed to establish dietary recommendations which can fulfil both of these societal goals. Students studying nutrition need to know about how food sustainability can impact upon dietary intake and the nutrient intake of the UK population.”

More than 50 students attended the launch from the BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Health degree as well as some PGCE students.

Third year student David Cooper said: “There are a lot of barriers in the field regarding accessibility to locally produced food. The event gave me some ideas, for example, perhaps Lancashire companies could provide fresh fruit to people in Liverpool who may struggle to find local food.”

Hannah Stoutt, also in her final year on the Nutrition and Health degree, added: “Learning about food in schools was an important element to the day and we got to hear lots of relevant information about the profession which will help us when we graduate. It was good to hear what’s happening on the ground.”

A working committee has now been established to take Food Sustainability Lancashire forward. The aim of this committee is to put food sustainability on the public health agenda and includes professionals from public health, retail, food based organisations and members of staff from Edge Hill University.