On 30 September Chris and I attended the Local Food Summit organised by New Forest Transition, part of the Transition Network and held in the Countryside Education Trust’s Tree House Study Centre in Beaulieu.
During the first GeoVation Challenge of 2010-11– ‘How can Britain feed itself’ we made links with others interested in food sustainability, including those in the local community. New Forest Transition have been looking at ways to improve local resilience to food shortages through their New Forest food challenge and the summit was the culmination of the project supported by the National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund. It was also the start of the main initiative – to kick start the development of a strong local food strategy.
Over seventy attendees, included farmers and producers, distributors, retailers and consumers,
split into groups to consider how to take positive action.
Five key areas emerged:
- Increasing supply
- Processing issues (especially the need for local abattoir facilities)
- Creating a strong distribution system
- Developing an educational package
- More effective marketing/publicity and communications
Chris and I were struck by the number of enthusiastic people attending the summit and also the hard work involved in running the project. New Forest Transition are now planning the next steps in developing their strategy. To find out more about the New Forest food challenge, visit their website.