HOW TO TAKE CLIMATE ACTION WITH FOOD

Wen’s decade long experience of working on the ground in East London, has shown that food has a unique power of bringing people together across differences to gain knowledge, skills and confidence to take practical and impactful action to reduce emissions and improve lives.

Find out about Wen’s new project which will focus on reducing the environmental impacts of our food system.  

TAKING CLIMATE ACTION TOGETHER 

We’re excited to announce that Wen is launching a new programme supporting community led climate action in our home borough of Tower Hamlets. Working with local residents and community organisations, this ambitious new project will focus on reducing the environmental impacts of our food system.  

 

FOOD, THE HEART OF A COMMUNITY

Food affects all of us, whether we’re buying it, cooking it, eating it or growing it. But food is also having a big effect on the planet.  Our food system creates more than 20% of the UK’s CO2 emissions. It is so important we take action to change how the food we enjoy is farmed, packaged, and transported. Here at Wen we believe that food has a unique power to bring people together across our differences. It creates a place where we can gain knowledge, skills and confidence to take practical action together.  

[Photo courtesy of Judy Ling Wong, Black Environment Network]

As well as having this amazing potential to bring people together around climate solutions, food is at the heart of many of Tower Hamlets’ residents’ greatest problems.  The COVID19 crisis has starkly highlighted this as more people struggle to get the food they need, many  families can’t afford healthy enjoyable meals, and more people than ever are reliant on food banks.   

Doing everything we can to prevent a climate crisis is so important, but it is also vital to create a more resilient food system that works better for the happiness, health and wellbeing of our communities. That is why we’re calling this project Just FACT – A Just Food and Climate Transition – because we believe that any action we take on climate change must also have justice at its heart.  

Our food system creates more than 20% of the UK’s CO2 emissions. It is so important we take action to change how the food we enjoy is farmed, packaged, and transported

WHAT IS A JUST FOOD AND CLIMATE TRANSITION? 

When we talk about creating just food systems, we mean that an affordable, planet and people friendly diet, should be possible without expecting communities in areas such as Tower Hamlets, which is one of the most economically deprived boroughs in the UK, to bear the costs of these vital changes

The phrase ‘just transition’ firstly recognises that there is distance to travel between where we are now, and where we want to be. The key idea of a just transition is that it’s not just the end goal, but also the process that leads us there that must have justice at its heart. Our project, Just FACT, will amplify the voices of those currently hit hardest by injustices in our food system to design solutions and take action. Our process will ensure that a just food system in the borough genuinely centres the needs and visions of our communities.    

Just FACT, will amplify the voices of those currently hit hardest by injustices in our food system to design solutions and take action. Our process will ensure that a just food system in the borough genuinely centres the needs and visions of our communities.    

HOW ARE WE GOING TO DO ALL OF THIS? 

We’ll be working with local residents, community groups, and organisations to create a blueprint for our local food system. We will create Community Hubs that will run workshops and discussions  to support local people design a climate-friendly food system that tackles the issues which are specific to an urban borough like ours.  With the blueprint as our guide, we will be funding Community Labs that will be testing and scaling up solutions across the borough

We hope at the end of all this to have created a genuinely ground breaking model for how inner city areas can transition to a just food system. To make all of this possible, we need your input! So please look out for the next steps in the project and how you, or your group, can get involved in shaping the blueprint.  

VOICES AT THE FOREFRONT OF OUR FOOD SYSTEM 

Like all our work, this project will take an inclusive, intersectional and feminist approach. This doesn’t mean we only work with women; our work is inclusive of all genders. At Wen we are passionate about ensuring that marginalised voices, including women’s, are amplified in the environmental movement.  

In many ways women are at the forefront of our food system, both within homes and as activists for change. Women are commonly responsible for household choices around food, and are often the guardians of family and cultural food knowledge and practices, so are vital for influencing the way our food system works. Wen has over a decade’s experience of working with women and their communities in Tower Hamlets to grow, cook and share food together, and we’re excited to bring all of the amazing people we work with together to make Just FACT a success.  

In many ways women are at the forefront of our food system, both within homes and as activists for change. Women are commonly responsible for household choices around food, and are often the guardians of family and cultural food knowledge and practices, so are vital for influencing the way our food system works.

OUR PARTNERS 

This project builds on the fantastic work of so many local, national and international organisations who have been working on Just Transition and just food systems.  

We will be working with partners across the borough to make all this happen, and you’ll be hearing lots more about them as we spotlight their work here on the Wen blog over the next couple of months.  But for now, here’s a list of some of the wonderful organisations we are lucky enough to be working with: 

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