Let's Talk About Food launch event

Let's Talk About Food was the inaugural event to launch a project to develop a Sustainable Local Food Strategy for County Durham. It was held at Durham Town Hall on March 12th 2012.  Over 70 delegates attended, coming from a wide variety of organisations and local businesses.  Refreshments were supplied by local food producers: yogurts from Embleton Hall Dairies, lunch from Broom House Farm, and apple juice from Bluebell Organics.  Click here to view the programme for the day.

Councillor Lucy Hovvels, Cabinet Member for Safer and Healthier Communities at Durham County Council opened the event and introduced the keynote speakers.  Please click on the links below to view a video of each presentation: 

Lord Curry of Kirkharle

Lord Curry of Kirkharle summarised the challenges facing the global food system and said it was important to position local food policy work within this context. He emphasised the importance to the North East economy of supporting growth in the amount of food that is produced, processed and marketed in the region and gave his full support to this project.  He stressed the need to work together across the whole of the North-East Region, and to improve the skills base. He said 'the challenges we’re facing today in Durham with the Local Food Strategy are absolutely critical to the economy of the Region'.   

Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw (Director of Health Improvement, Sheffield City Council) shared his experience of developing the Sheffield Food Plan and the lessons learnt. He stressed that the Plan was not essentially about health (although this is a key driver and an important aspect); it is about developing resilience and sustainable food. 

Dr Charlie Clutterbuck

Dr Charlie Clutterbuck (Hon. Research Fellow, Centre for Food Policy, City University; Director of Environmental Practice @ Work; a Board member of the Food Ethics Council and PAN-UK) gave an overview of some of the global issues affecting our food supply today. We use five times the area of Britain to feed ourselves and this cannot continue. He explained why sustainable food production can match the need for healthier diets and more climate friendly farming. Put very simply, the answer is to “plant fruit and vegetables”. He bemoans the loss of agricultural research and emphasizes the need for improving skills in the sector. He is a strong supporter of the local food movement.   

Mary Clear

Mary Clear is a Volunteer for Incredible Edible Todmorden. Mary told us the inspiring story of the remarkable Incredible Edible Todmorden. Todmorden is 'a market town trying to survive in a supermarket culture'.  The story of Incredible Edible shows what can happen when local people decide to act for themselves, tackling a big issue head on with enthusiastic community action. They planted 'propaganda food' on unloved areas of land and invited people to help themselves. Food is now grown at the Health Centre, Railway Station, Policy and Fire Stations, and on housing estates.  All six schools are growing food, there is a permaculture training centre, ‘Lost Arts Training’ courses, community bee keeping and more, and all in the space of four years.  A new phenomenon of 'Vegetable Tourism' has emerged with visitors from around the country and abroad.  There are now 31 Incredible Edible projects in other towns. Can we do it in County Durham?  Read more about Incredible Edible Todmorden by clicking here to visit their website.* (Durham Community Action is not responsible for the content of external websites).